By Terry Shropshire
After witnessing the implosion of Central Park Five prosecutor Linda Fairstein’s career, Black law students at Columbia University in Manhattan want to see the same happen to Elizabeth Lederer, the lead district attorney on that infamous case.
According to Vulture, the Black Law Students Association wants the Ivy League institution to fire Lederer who headed the D.A.’s case to falsely imprison the Central Park Five teens — Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise.
Lederer was portrayed by actress Vera Farmiga in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries “When They See Us.” Vulture and AboveTheLaw.com report that Lederer continues to work at the Lecturer in Law at Columbia and remains employed by the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she has worked for the past 40 years.
Simultaneously, a second Black organization, Columbia’s Black Students Organization, is demanding administrators invalidate an award that Columbia University School of Medicine gave to Lederer’s co-prosecutor in the case, Linda Fairstein, Metro reports.
Right now, however, Lederer remains the Black law students’ priority.
“Since Lederer’s integral role in the case has received a national spotlight, there have been multiple efforts urging Columbia Law School to take action,” stated a letter from Black law students that they posted on Twitter. “In 2013 a petition was circulated, which gained thousands of signatures and demanded the removal of Lederer. Instead of taking decisive action to address the issue, Columbia Law School simply removed the Central Park jogger case from Lederer’s online bio.”
The letter from the Black law students continues: “Now, with the release of Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us’ on Netflix, Columbia’s inaction on this subject shows a disconnect between the values Columbia purports and the actions the Law School takes. Another petition, circulated by our brothers, sisters, and non-binary friends at Columbia University Black Students’ Organization, has gained thousands of signatures and again demands … the removal of Elizabeth Lederer.”
New statement released from the @ColumbiaLaw Black Law Students Association
Students call for #CentralPark5 prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer to be fired from her Lecturer in Law position
Also call on the law school to center anti-racism in its curriculum and pedagogy pic.twitter.com/U8By81KWBB
— Barred and Boujee (@AudreLawdAMercy) June 11, 2019
AboveTheLaw.com reminds readers that Black students also called for Lederer’s firing once before — after the airing of the Ken Burns documentary on the Central Park Five back in 2012. The publication said Columbia University did nothing then. And they have yet to act today.
Below is the trailer from the powerful Netflix miniseries “When They See Us.”
This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com.