The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said ‘Justice delayed is justice denied,’ but for the Central Park Five, justice has come at last.
The New York Times is reporting that the City of New York has agreed to a $40 million settlement in the infamous case. In 1989, five Black and Hispanic teenagers were arrested in Central Park and ultimately convicted of the vicious rape and beating of a jogger, later identified as investment banker Tricia Meili, then 28.
The teens, 14-16 at the time, were convicted due to confessions that they later claimed were coerced by overzealous police detectives. While the teens admitted they were in Central Park near the time of the attack, they denied raping Meili, but the resultant media frenzy around the case led to a witch hunt which presumed the teenagers guilty.
Then accused of “wilding” in the park, the case, in a divided New York City, seemed to confirm the worst fears about young Black and Hispanic men. All five teens were convicted in 1990 and released, four after serving seven years and one after serving 13 years.
In 2002, convicted rapist and murderer Matias Reyes, met one of the Central Park Five while in jail. He confessed to the crime and was a DNA match, which proved he was the lone man who perpetuated the attack on Meili, who had no memory of it.
After their exoneration, Rafael Santana, Yusuf Salaam, Kharey Wise, Antron McCray, and Kevin Richardson pursued a civil rights case against the city, which dragged on for years as the Bloomberg administration fought it, saying they believed that police and prosecutors had “acted in good faith and with cause.”
Mayor Bill DiBlasio, elected last year, said one of his priorities was reaching a settlement in the case. A 2012 documentary, The Central Park Five produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, renewed interest in the case as it was widely believed that although the men had been exonerated, the stigma of the case took its toll on all of them.
Rev. Al Sharpton, who worked with families and supporters to overturn the convictions in the 90’s, says he’s glad that the men have finally been able to enjoy the victory they fought so hard for. “We took a lot of abuse for that, and the toll on these men and their supporters was terrible,” he told the New York Daily News. “I want to know we have things in place so that this doesn’t happen again.”
The proposed settlement equals out to about $1 million for each man for each year they spent in jail, which for Wise would mean that he’ll receive more than any other victorious defendant has in a wrongful conviction case in New York history. According to the Times, settlements of this kind would not usually include any acknowledgement of wrongdoing by the city.
DiBlasio and lawyers for the Central Park Five have yet to comment.
(Photo: YouTube Screenshot from The Central Park Five.)
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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