To begin with, the notion that Fairstein and Lederer are uniquely evil suggests that the Central Park Five were uniquely victimized. The fact is, the Central Park wrongful convictions were system failures in which many people—cops, defenders, judges, forensic scientists—had a hand, either by making a mistake or failing to catch one.
As Diane Vaughan said of the Space Shuttle Challenger launch decision, conformity, not deviance, was at the root of the problem. We have to come to grips with the fact that the Central Park Five fiasco was not the work of a pair of sociopaths— not a once-every-30-years lightning strike. These wrongful convictions were very much “normal accidents”.
I haven’t seen the mini-series, ” When They See Us,” but the article focuses on holding the system accountable instead of the people running the system. Weren’t five innocent teenagers held responsible for a crime despite the lack of evidence? What about the innocent victims of a system intentionally flawed to imprison black children and young adults? That point is not of importance in this article.
It’s incredible to me the excuses rendered for egregious “normal accidents.” The article suggests the prosecutors should not be demonized like the innocent Central Park 5 or their families, despite being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. The author is unsympathetic to their trauma and that of their families. They are barely mentioned, or the future stolen from them.
Again, weren’t they accountable and convicted as adults for a crime they never committed? This article suggests the people involved in the cover-up of “normal accidents,” should not be responsible because the system is flawed. But isn’t the system flawed because of the culture and the people hired to run a system that maintains structural racism instead of justice?
Is it justice to force confessions from children then hold them to a higher standard than the adults who run the system or forced the confessions?