Not long ago, five black and Hispanic boys, Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, Yusuf Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, were wrongfully convicted for raping and beating one woman in a park until someone else confessed to it in 2002. Their lives were effectively ruined and zealous prosecutors with the same fervent belief in “holding individuals responsible” coerced confessions out of those boys, held for days without their parents in the room and without food, and used those coerced confessions to sentence them to a high profile crime they didn’t commit.

“When They See Us” details that tragedy of judgment that people like us, who could have easily fallen into the same hysteria, inflicted on those boys.

The presumption of innocence, in which it is better that ten guilt people go free than one innocent man get convicted, is the bedrock of a civil society, and we are too easily losing sight of that. Liberals have historically been the vanguards of the rights of the accused, no matter how unpopular it meant to defend the accused, and pursued justice through that but also seeking accountability of institutions. It’s important to keep that in mind, in my opinion.

Written by

Believer, Baltimore City special ed teacher, and 2:40 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire,” God’s gift to the Earth. E-mail: ryanfan17@gmail.com

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