On the night of April 18, 1989, Trisha Meili was brutally attacked while jogging through Central Park. Her attacker sexually assaulted her and nearly battered the life out of her. Meili's case immediately became a subject of outrage, and pressure built on police to make arrests. Under such muddled circumstances, the NYPD quickly found five teenage suspects to put on trial.
Four of the five confessed, but under dubious circumstances, and with little other evidence. Meanwhile, murderer and rapist Matias Reyes was left unquestioned about the crime. Through racial bias and a rush to convict, justice was miscarried and the true attacker slipped through the cracks for more than 10 years.
Many myths still exist about the Central Park Five case. The circumstances that led to five young men being convicted of a crime that evidence later showed they could not have committed are complex. Ava DuVernay's Netflix series When They See Us - which dramatizes the case of the Central Park Five, from the crime itself to the exoneration - became one of the streaming service's most successful offerings. What follows is a timeline of the events as they played out - an ordeal that lasted a decade and a half.