Public Television Broadcasts The Ken Burns Documentary, "The Central Park Five."

Tuesday Evening, 9:00 P.M. Nationwide

Tomorrow evening, Tuesday, April 16, at 9:00 p.m., National Public Television will broadcast the documentary, “The Central Park Five” about the wrongful convictions and exonerations of five black New York teenagers for the rape of the Central Park Jogger on April 19, 1989. 

The documentary was created by Ken Burns and his daughter, Sarah Burns, and her husband, David McMahon.  The project began when Sarah wrote a paper at Yale about the Central Park Five, and that paper became the book, The Central Park Five. 

After  many hours of interrogations and hearing details fed to them by the police, four of the Five confessed to participating in the assault and rape of the Central Park Jogger, a white female investment banker.  Notably, the details of those confessions varied significantly, but the juries convicted the boys anyway.  One of the five, Yusef Salaam, passed a polygraph examination before his trial, but the prosecutors never paused to consider that their theory might be wrong. 

All five had completed their sentences when the actual rapist, Matias Reyes, confessed, and his DNA matched that found on the victim.  The five filed a civil lawsuit against the City of New York ten years ago, but the city has been fighting compensation.    

Last Saturday, April 6, Ken Burns and two of the five, Yusef Salaam and Ray Santana, appeared at the Colonial Theater in Keene for the Monadnock International Film Festival, where “The Central Park Five” was shown.  

During the Question and Answer period afterwards, Santana spoke to the 900 person audience about the Chad Evans case in New Hampshire.  Evans was born and raised in Keene, where he was elected to the Keene Board of Education in 1991.  

At the film showing, Chad’s father, Chet Evans, spoke to the audience about his son’s claim of wrongful conviction for murder in 2001.  Presently, the New Hampshire Prison warden, the Commissioner of Corrections and the Office of the Attorney General are blocking a request by prisoner Chad Evans to take a second polygraph.  His first polygraph exam, taken in April, 2012, was inconclusive.  In 2010, he passed a Voice Stress Analysis lie detector test.