Ava DuVernay’s exploration of America’s criminal justice system will continue with a new project about the Central Park Five on Netflix.
The streaming network on Thursday announced the director will write and helm a five-episode limited series about the case of five Harlem teenagers of color who were wrongly convicted of and incarcerated for a 1989 rape.
The project is DuVernay’s second with Netflix. She previously released her documentary “13TH,” about the U.S. prison system, on the platform.
“The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades,” DuVernay said in a statement. “In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn – from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the President of the United States.”
In a 1989, Donald Trump, then just a notable New York City developer, took out ads in New York City papers calling for the execution of the five teens, then between the ages of 14 and 16, accused of raping a jogger in Central Park.
Serial rapist and murderer Matias Reyes confessed to the crime in 2002. DNA evidence corroborated Reyes’ story. The five men were exonerated in 2014 and received a settlement of more than $40 million after serving between six and 13 years in prison.
Trump called the settlement a “disgrace” and continued to be convinced of the group’s guilt well into the presidential campaign.
DuVernay’s series will begin in the spring of 1989 and follow the story until the exoneration, Netflix said.
“This is one of the most talked-about cases of our time and Ava’s passionate vision and masterful direction will bring the human stories behind the headlines to life in this series,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content for Netflix.
The series will debut in 2019.