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'Central Park 5' Prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer Resigns from Columbia Law School

13 June 2019

The lead prosecutor in the Central Park Five case resigned from Columbia Law School amid scrutiny following the release of Ava DuVernay's critically-acclaimed, When They See Us series.

As you can see, Lederer took no real responsibility in helping wrongfully convict the five Black and Latino boys for the Central Park rape case back in 1989.

In the statement announcing her decision, Lederer added that while she enjoyed her years teaching at the Law School, the "nature of the recent publicity" following the film has led her to not continue as lecturer. It depicts Lederer aggressively prosecuting the five boys, despite misgivings, the Times said.

In an email to Columbia Law students sent on Wednesday night, Gillian Lester, the school's dean wrote Lederer chose to not come back as a lecturer in the fall and that DuVernay's series had "reignited a painful - and vital - national conversation about race, identity, and criminal justice".

Yusef Salaam, left, Kevin Richardson, second left, and Raymond Santana, right, react to supporters in NY in 2012.

The BLSA's statement argued that in addition to Lederer's removal, the Law School should address the racism inherent in legal pedagogy through a re-evaluation of existing teaching and hiring practices.

In 2002, there were exonerated by the New York State Supreme Court only because a fellow inmate came forward to confess - even though there was never any DNA evidence linking them to the crime.

Last week, the university's Black Students Organization began circulating a petition calling for Lederer to step down and calling on Columbia Medical School to recall an award it bestowed on Linda Fairstein, who oversaw the prosecution as head of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office Sex Crimes Unit.

According to Netflix US, When They See Us is now the "most-watched series on Netflix in the US every day since it premiered on May 31." . "I am deeply committed to fostering a learning environment that furthers this important and ongoing dialogue, one that draws upon the lived experiences of all members of our community and actively confronts the most hard issues of our time".

Fairstein has since been forced to step off of the boards of Vassar College, Safe Horizons, Gods Love We Deliver and was dropped from her publisher.

Since the release of the new Netflix documentary at the end of May, Lederer and fellow prosecutor Linda Fairstein have received an abundance of criticism regarding their handling of the case.

'Central Park 5' Prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer Resigns from Columbia Law School