When They See Us star Jharrel Jerome paid tribute to the “exonerated five” as he won his first Emmy Award.

The heart-rending Netflix show, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay, tells the story of the so-called Central Park Five, who were wrongly accused of rape.

The men, all black or Hispanic, were convicted of a 1989 attack on a white woman in New York City, only to be freed years later when another man admitted to the highly publicised crime.

In When They See Us, Jerome stars as Korey Wise, who spent more than a decade in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Jerome, 21, appeared visibly emotional on stage while accepting his award for lead actor in a limited series after seeing off stellar competition, including two Oscar winners.

After thanking his family and DuVernay, he said: “Most importantly, this is for the men that we know as the Exonerated Five.”

The five men –  Wise, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana Jr and Yusef Salaam – were on their feet applauding the actor throughout his speech.

Jerome won ahead of British stars Hugh Grant and Jared Harris, nominated for A Very English Scandal and Chernobyl respectively, as well as Benicio del Toro (Escape At Dannemora), Mahershala Ali (True Detective) and Sam Rockwell (Fosse/Verdon).