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‘THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE’ & ‘56 UP’

Most Americans forty or older will recall the 1989 case of the young woman brutalized by a rampaging mob of teenagers while jogging in Central Park. Coming amid soaring crime rates, the attack spawned a scary neologism, “wilding,” and mass public revulsion that took on a racial tinge when five black and Hispanic teenagers quickly confessed. I recall the news images of teenaged males being hustled out of police stations, heads down; like nearly everyone else, I shook my...

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About the Author

Rand Richards Cooper, one of Commonweal's film critics, is the author of two works of fiction, The Last To Go and Big as Life.