Central Park Five prosecutor, Elizabeth Lederer, has resigned from her position as part-time lecturer at Columbia Law School after the Netflix series When They See Us reignited fierce calls for her to be sacked.
Lederer, a current Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, led the prosecution against the then five teenagers of colour Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise who were accused of raping and beating a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989.
After spending six to 13 years in prison, all five men – dubbed the Central Park Five by the media – were fully exonerated in 2002 when DNA evidence and a confession revealed Matias Reyes as the true and only perpetrator.
Per the New York Times, an email sent to Columbia Law students on Wednesday evening said Lederer had decided to resign as lecturer “given the nature of the recent publicity generated by the Netflix portrayal of the Central Park case.”
She continued: “It is best for me not to renew my teaching application.”
From acclaimed filmmaker Ava DuVernay, the four-part limited series spans 25 years – from the arrest and wrongful conviction of the Central Park Five to their exoneration and the settlement reached in 2014.
When They See Us was originally titled Central Park Five but was switched to the former title to embrace “the humanity of the men and not their politicised moniker,” DuVernay said in a statement when the trailer was first released.
DuVernay created, directed, and co-wrote the series. She also served as executive producer alongside Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Skoll, Jane Rosenthal, and Berry Welsh.
Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Jharrel Jerome, Ethan Herisse, Marquis Rodriguez, Chris Chalk, Jovan Adepo, Justin Cunningham, Freddy Miyares, Niecy Nash, Michael Kenneth Williams, John Leguizamo, Dascha Polanco, Vera Farmiga, Felicity Huffman, Aunjanue Ellis, Blair Underwood, Famke Janssen, Joshua Jackson, and Storm Reid star.
According to Netflix US, When They See Us is now the “most-watched series on Netflix in the US every day since it premiered on May 31.”
When They See Us is available to stream now on Netflix.
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