News Central Park 5 prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer won't return to Columbia Law School Prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer, center, arrives at State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Aug. 6, 1990, with Linda Fairstein, right, head of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office sex crimes unit. Photo Credit: Newsday By Nicole Brown firstname.lastname@example.org @ncb417 Updated June 13, 2019 10:17 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Elizabeth Lederer, the lead prosecutor in the 1989 Central Park jogger case that resulted in the wrongful conviction of five black and brown teenagers, will not return as a lecturer at Columbia Law School, the school’s dean said in a letter Wednesday. Lederer’s decision is the latest fallout from the critically acclaimed Netflix miniseries “When They See Us,” which shed new light on the investigation into the brutal rape of Trisha Meili, told through the perspectives of the five boys, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. “I’ve enjoyed my years teaching at CLS, and the opportunity it has given me to interact with the many fine students who elected to take my classes,” Lederer said in a statement, which was included in the letter sent by Dean Gillian Lester. “However, given the nature of the recent publicity generated by the Netflix portrayal of the Central Park case, it is best for me not to renew my teaching application.” After the release of the series, Columbia University’s Black Students’ Organization circulated a petition demanding Lederer step down from her role as a lecturer, garnering nearly 10,000 signatures. On Tuesday, the Black Law Students Association at Columbia Law School wrote an open letter calling for the school to fire her. “The lives of these five boys were forever changed as a result of Lederer’s conduct,” the BLSA wrote. The group also noted that there had been multiple efforts urging Columbia to take action against Lederer, including a petition in 2013, but the school only removed the mention of the Central Park case from Lederer's online bio. Lederer’s case was largely based on confessions from the five boys, which they and their lawyers have said were coerced. No physical evidence tied the five to the scene, and years later, DNA was matched to convicted murderer and serial rapist Matias Reyes, who admitted sole responsibility for the attack on Meili. Fury over the wrongful convictions was also directed at Linda Fairstein, who was the head of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office sex crimes unit during the investigation. In the series, Fairstein is portrayed as willing to do anything to convict McCray, Richardson, Salaam, Santana and Wise, even when physical evidence didn’t support her theories. Fairstein has since resigned from the boards of three nonprofits and the Vassar College board of trustees. In its letter to the school, the BLSA also called on Columbia to “address the racism inherent in how the law is taught.” “Lederer is not the first prosecutor to send innocent Black and Latinx children to prison, nor will she be the last. Rather, the legal system as a whole, including legal education, endorses a carceral state that devalues the lives of Black and Brown people,” the group wrote. It asked the school to have “professionally-led, mandatory, anti-racist training for all educators at the law school” and to re-evaluate hiring policies and curriculums “to prevent perpetuating racist practices.” Lester noted that a special committee on diversity and inclusion was currently working “to examine ways to advance and support inclusive teaching and learning experiences.” By Nicole Brown email@example.com @ncb417 Nicole Brown is the Internet News Manager at amNY.com, covering local news since 2016. She has written for MSNBC.com and was editor-in-chief of NYU’s Washington Square News. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic A look at where the Central Park 5 are nowThe Netflix series "When They See Us," tells the stories of the five teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of attacking and raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989. Linda Fairstein slams 'When They See Us' as 'an outright fabrication'Fairstein says Ava DuVernay’s television depiction of the trial is “so full of distortions and falsehoods." Fairstein dropped by publisher after Central Park 5 backlashAmid mounting outrage, Linda Fairstein resigned from several charity boards and the Vassar College board of trustees earlier this week. What to know before watching the Central Park 5 seriesPresident Donald Trump has doubled down on his assertion that the Central Park Five were guilty, despite that they were exonerated by DNA evidence in 2002. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.