Donald paid $85,000 to make an inflammatory, race-baiting statement in full-page ads which ran simultaneously in The New York Times, The New York Post, The Daily News and Newsday. Under the heading: "BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY, BRING BACK OUR POLICE!" he called for the cops to rescue the city from what he described as "roving bands of wild criminals."
Fifteen years ago, in 1989, toy manufacturer Milton Bradley introduced “Trump: The Game,” selling about 800,000 copies of a pricey first edition. Today, The Donald is currently enjoying a renaissance, courtesy of his hit reality show, The Apprentice. Thus, he’s seen fit to cash-in on his skyrocketing popularity by re-releasing that expensive novelty item, and just in time to mass-market it during the holiday season.
The new version is essentially the same as the original, except that Trump’s trademark phrase, “You’re fired!” has been plastered on the box’s cover. I’d be the first to admit to being a big fan of his program, so I don’t begrudge the bad-haired billionaire a chance to pad his children’s trust fund.
Still, I would hope that the filthy-rich philanthropist would seriously consider sharing some of his board game profits with Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Kharey Wise, Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam. And who might they be? The totally innocent quintet of kids from Harlem whose fate Trump
helped seal after they were rounded-up by the police as suspects in the brutal attack on the Central Park jogger.
For on May 1st, 1989, less than two weeks after the young white woman was raped, beaten unconscious and left for dead, Donald paid $85,000 to make an inflammatory, race-baiting statement in full-page ads which ran simultaneously in The New York Times, The New York Post, The Daily News and
Newsday. Under the heading: “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY, BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” he called for the cops to rescue the city from what he described as “roving bands of wild criminals.”
Although the victim lay in a coma and there were no witnesses, the press had a field day imaginatively creating increasingly lurid descriptions of how the five had supposedly gone a savage crime spree, “wilding” across Central Park. Wanting to avoid a lynch mob mentality, Mayor Koch requested that people remove any hatred from their hearts, not pre-judge, and remember the presumption of innocence till proven guilty.
But Trump trumped the Mayorâ€™s call for calm, irresponsibly convicting the then 14-16 year-olds in the court of public opinion without ever pausing to
question whether the cops had apprehended the actual perpetrator. In the ensuing atmosphere of hysteria, all five were convicted, based solely on
confessions given to cops who had interrogated the boys before allowing them to call their parents or an attorney.
Richardson, McCray, Wise, Santana and Salaam were then incarcerated far from family and friends, sent to rot in a living hell, just when they should
have been exploring their greatest freedom and potential as they entered adulthood. This gross miscarriage of justice was left totally uncorrected until a couple of years ago, when DNA evidence proved conclusively that the only semen stains left on the victim matched that of Matias Reyes, a serial rapist.
Today, the Central Park Five have all been exonerated, but not made whole. Regrettably, that may be impossible. While it may be too late to give the now grown men back their formative years, is it unreasonable to ask Donald Trump to make amends by sharing some of the proceeds from a game he had
promoted while pushing for their prosecution?
If criminals can be prevented from profiting from their crimes, and can be forced to compensate their victims, I say real estate moguls making false
accusations also ought to be held accountable for recklessly ruining lives?
So much for my plans to audition for The Apprentice 3.
Attorney Williams is a member of the NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.