Entertainment

Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us’ Explores The True Story Of The Injustices Against Black And Brown Boys

People love True Crime. They get their fix from documentaries, feature films, novels, TV shows, and podcasts. On May 31, True Crime fanatics will be in for a treat. A new Netflix series directed by the incomparable Ava DuVernay. “When They See Us” isn’t just a series and it’s not just a “who done it” kind of plot. The film is the real story about how the justice system robbed the lives of innocent men of color to solve a rape case. It’s a story about discrimination, a racist judicial system, and how the victims of it mirror what continues to happen in criminal justice.

“When They See Us” shows how the lives of Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, and Kharey Wise were torn apart after they were found guilty of raping a woman in 1989.

The story begins with a tragedy. A 28-year-old female investment banker was jogging in Central Park in Manhattan around 9 p.m. Trisha Meili, the victim who disclosed her identity in 2003, was brutally raped and left for dead. Around 1 a.m. she was found naked in the park. Medics took Meili to the hospital where she suffered from severe hypothermia, severe brain damage, hemorrhagic shock, and lost 80 percent of her blood. She also had internal bleeding and suffered skull fractures — 21 fractures in total. She remained in a coma for 12 days. When she came to, she could not remember anything about her attack.

The young men, who were all under 16 years of age, were in the park that night with another group and were taken into police custody for unruly gathering.

When police found out that the body of the woman had been discovered in the park that same night, that she had been raped and was in the hospital, detectives immediately suspected the young men as the assailants.

Without having any evidence, detectives — at least two of them were Latino — accused the five boys of the crime and lied to them by saying they had proof that they did it.

Police told the five boys that if they admitted to doing the crime, they would be released and allowed to go home.

Throughout the evening, the family of the boys was lied to about the events that were going on in the integration room. Everyone honestly thought that police were going to release them because that’s what they said they were going to do.

The only thing the boys had to do was confess to the crime. However, because the boys didn’t know what they were confessing to, or the details of the victims, the police fed them the information in order to record the confession from them in their own voice.

“When They See Us” not only explores the injustices by the New York Police department but the racist assumptions by the public and the media.

If you’re not familiar with the entire story, we won’t give any spoilers but know that this story isn’t as black and white as you may think. It’s a complex topic that goes way beyond these five boys and shows in detail how men of color are presumed guilty simply because of their social status and economic background.

The mini series premieres May 31 on Netflix. Here’s a trailer.

UPDATE: Texas Officers In Viral Horseback Photo Were Allegedly Following Policy

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UPDATE: Texas Officers In Viral Horseback Photo Were Allegedly Following Policy

Officers P. Brosch and A. Smith arrested Donald Neely, a 43-year-old Black man, for alleged trespassing in Galveston, Texas. The officers then handcuffed Neely, tied a blue rope to his handcuffs, and used the rope as a leash as they forced him to be dog walked in his own neighborhood to the staging area for the Mounted Patrol Unit. Witnesses took photos of the incident and released them to the public, prompting an outcry over the dehumanization of the man.

The two officers involved in the incident will not face a criminal investigation, according to Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset.

“My officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest, but we have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” Police Chief Vernon Hale said in a statement.

According to CNN, the officers were following policy when it came to arresting by horseback officers. While a criminal investigation is not happening, there is an investigation being conducted on the county level. The investigation, however, is not into the incident, but rather an investigation in the police forces’ policies.

The visceral effect of the image is rooted in the use of this “technique” to capture and enslave Black people in the antebellum south.

Credit: @luvwinsresist / Twitter

In a Facebook post, Texas’ Galveston Police Department included this statement: 

“Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest. My officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest, but we have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods.”

Neely’s family attorney, Melissa Morris, says that Neely is mentally ill and homeless.

Credit: @AdrBell / Twitter

Morris told KPRC that Neely lived a normal life as the father of eight children until he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder ten years ago. His family had been looking for him for the last three or four years. When Neely’s sister saw his image go viral, she immediately drove to Galveston to find him.

The Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III has since released a statement, saying “First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment.” Hale has confirmed that this is a commonplace technique that “is considered a best practice in certain scenarios, such as during crowd control, the practice was not the correct use for this instance.” The police department has discontinued the use of the “technique.”

“The family is offended. The family is upset,” Morris told KPRC.

Credit: @BetoORourke / Twitter

“I believe the way they handled him was disgusting,” Morris told the Texas station. “No puedo con esta mierda. Me mudo. Me vomito,” comments one Twitter user.

The police officers have received no consequences for their “poor judgment” at the time of this publication. 

Credit: @oodsfern / Twitter

In 2014, Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill Black man, was shot 14 times by police, though he was unarmed. Some people are calling on the police department to “fire them!” Another Twitter user feels the apology is “Not enough. Officers Brosch and Smith should be ID’d in full and then fired. If the #Galveston Police department treat a Black man like this for a misdemeanor, who knows what savage acts they would commit for a felony.”

Meanwhile, people are showing the treatment of the El Paso shooter who killed 22 people in comparison to a Black man arrested for trespassing.

Credit: @haleystanwood / Twitter

President of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, Leon Phillips, told the Houston Chronicle, “All I know is that these are two white police officers on horseback with a Black man walking him down the street with a rope tied to the handcuffs, and that’s doesn’t make sense, period. And I do understand this —if it was a white man, I guarantee it wouldn’t have happened.”

For some, the photo is further proof of the injustices Black men and women face when dealing with law enforcement.

Credit: @luvwinsresist / Twitter

“Tell me again how racism is dead and that we Black folk just overreact to everything? Don’t worry I’ll wait,” tweets @luvwinsresist. Unfortunately, she didn’t have to wait long.

Nearly half the social media outrage to the photo comes from folks who claim the law is color blind.

Credit: @PATRICI09051947 / Twitter

They seem to be angry that anyone could suggest that race played a role in the way Neely was treated. Photos of other non-Black suspects under arrest by cops on horseback are being circulated. None of the photos we scoured found the use of a rope to function as a leash.

People of color are expending their energy on explaining racism to white folks all over the Internet this week.

Credit: @monicacharley32 / Twitter

After one Twitter user asked if anyone would care if they were Black cops dragging a Black man, Monica Charley chimed in to say, “Yes. I would care. I would care very much. The difference here is that the incident harkens to an earlier era during slavery when this actual act was commonplace for captured slaves. That is the reason for the extreme upset. I hope this clarifies things for you.”

The user responded using “they” language, and once again erasing the anger of Black folks as oversensitive.

Take care of yourselves out there, mi gente.

Credit: @henrygonzilla / Twitter

This week has been pesado in ways we couldn’t even imagine. Take care not to give away precious joules of energy to people who aren’t worthy. Our community has your back.

READ: White Woman Called Black Women The N-Word At A Restaurant And Says “I Would Say It Again”

A Viciously Racist Video Has Gone Viral In Which Two Girls Call For The Return Of Slavery And The KKK

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A Viciously Racist Video Has Gone Viral In Which Two Girls Call For The Return Of Slavery And The KKK

@mrsmeliwilson / Twitter

Another day, another racist video uploaded to the Internet. In the latest bigoted clip to go viral, two young white women from Illinois chant about how much they hate Black people and call for the return of slavery.

On Saturday, Springfield, Illinois, resident Gabbi Goldsborough posted a video on Facebook of friends Macy Castleman and Jayde Landers going on a wild rant about their deep hatred toward Black people. The 10-second clip, a screengrab of another video posted August 9 or 10 on Snapchat by user Sam Stieren, shows the women outdoors calling for a return to the times when Black folk were not considered human and were enslaved and brutalized. 

“We hate n*****s,” the pair say in unison.

Castleman, who appears in the video wearing a dark-color hoodie, added: “They smell. They don’t work. So we should bring back slavery to whip them n*****s. Bring back the KKK! Wooooo!”

Landers, who is seen in a light-color sweatshirt, then says, “Shh. People like Black people sometimes.”

The video, as can be expected, has validly angered many on the Internet.

“Love how people sit around and act like racism isn’t still a thing. Macy Castleman and Jayde Landers, you have a lot of explaining to do,” Goldsborough writes in her video post on Facebook. “You can say it’s an inside joke or think it’s funny, but it’s not.”

Along with the clip, the young woman, who is biracial, also published private chats she had with Castleman, which shows her unapologetic about video and calling it a joke that she doesn’t have much recollection of.

“That was like three years ago and, if I’m being honest, I don’t remember that at all,” Castleman responds when Goldsborough inquires about the contents of the video through a Snapchat message.

After Goldsborough calls it “fucked up,” Castleman gets defensive. 

“I have Black people in my family. Clearly, I don’t feel that way … so you can chill. Also, it was an inside joke with my best friend. But feel however you want about it,” she says.

While the video’s timestamp shows it was posted last week, it could have been recorded previously and added to Snapchat as a “throwback” or “memory” more recently.

In her post, Goldsborough points out that the timing of the recording is nonessential; what the young women say in the video is what’s damning.

“Honestly, I don’t care when you said it. I don’t care if you said it five years ago. The N-word still came out of your mouth, and there’s no excuse. Period. On behalf of my Black side, we’re hurt and so disappointed people still think and believe this,” she said, adding that if Castleman’s claims of having Black relatives are true, they would be really disappointed in her.

In addition to the public outcry, both Castleman and Landers are beginning to also face real-life repercussions for their racist rant. 

Castleman, who is seen in the video yelling most of the vile commentary, has been fired from her job at an assisted living facility. On Facebook, the Concordia Village and Lutheran Senior Services addressed the video and their former employee’s involvement twice. 

In a post made on Monday, they announce that Castleman was dismissed.

“A disturbing video posted on a personal social media account by a former employee over the weekend has come to our attention. We are disappointed by the personal views expressed by this former employee and regret the adverse attention it has brought upon our community. We have addressed the situation with the employee according to our personnel policies and that individual is no longer employed by Concordia Village or Lutheran Senior Services,” they wrote.

When commenters asked if the company had fired Castleman, they responded that they had.

Both institutions where the women attend, or were previously registered in, have also commented on the videos.

Auburn High School, where Sanders is a senior, made a brief statement on its Twitter account.

“The behavior of the two individuals in the video does not represent the views of our school or our community – what we teach or how we act in our school. There are policies and procedures in place, which will be followed for any students involved,” the school noted in the statement made on Sunday.

One community member, Eileen P McLaughlin, isn’t satisfied. She suggested that the teen be suspended or expelled, noting that not giving the young woman consequences to her actions would leave a “dark stain on your school.”

The Auburn Community Unit School District #10 said it has started an investigation into the video but indicated that the process has been difficult because the video was released publically while school is still on summer break.

Similarly, Lincoln Land Community College, the school where Castleman was enrolled as a nursing student, posted a statement on Sunday to their Facebook.

“In light of a situation brought to the attention of the college administration, I would like to assure our community that Lincoln Land Community College is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment that is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination,” President Dr. Charlotte Warren on Sunday. “LLCC values diversity. We respect and celebrate the differences among people, cultures and ideas. We recognize the inherent dignity and worth of everyone throughout the college community. We promote a safe and inclusive environment for all.” 

Warren added: “… If this situation involved a current student at LLCC, then it would be investigated and adjudicated per the policies and procedures of the College.”

Both Castleman and Landers have either set their social media to private or deactivated their accounts.

Read: Two Racist Florida Women Are Caught On Video Telling A Puerto Rican Man To ‘Go Back To Mexico’ If He Wants To Speak Spanish

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