Central Park Five's Nightmare Continues 20 Years Later

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

In 1990, they were railroaded by New York City's white criminal justice system-and the press. Twenty years later, why is City Hall still stymieing justice, for the Central Park Five by refusing compensation for the years they spent in prison?

In 2003, Mathias Reyes confessed he was the sole attacker and rapist of Saloman Brothers investment banker Trisha Meili. So why is City Hall fighting payment to these five men who had their childhoods robbed by the New York Police Department (NYPD) and New York's criminal "justice" system?

The five filed multi-million dollar lawsuits, but, the city is maintaining there was no malfeasance by NYPD, or, prosecutors and is refusing any kind of settlement. "The charges against the plaintiffs and other youths were based on abundant probable cause, including confessions that withstood intense scrutiny, in full and fair pretrial hearings and at two lengthy public trials," said Celeste Koeleveld, executive assistant corporation council for public safety.

Councilman Charles Barron had a different take: "We believe firmly that their families have suffered tremendously emotionally. They have suffered economically and the city should pay compensation and settle out of court."

The five had prison sentences ranging from six to sixteen years. In 1990, the five teenagers: Yusef Salaam, Kharey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray and Raymond Santana were convicted of the rape, of Meili, in the so-called Central Park Jogger Trial. Although, there was no forensic evidence linking these kids to that brutal attack the NYPD was able to coerce confessions after hours of interrogation. Tellingly, the confessions were videotaped-but not the hours of interrogations that came before.

Media sensationalism played a major part in poisoning the minds of white New Yorkers against the youths. Provocateurs of prejudice, like Donald Trump, today's pretender to a White House run, paid for advertisement editorials asking for the death penalty. Prior to the trial, New York City's media ran stories about "wolf-packs" engaging in "wilding," a supposed activity, alleged by the NYPD, where strangers are targeted for attack.

Given the high incidents of crime, at the time-blamed on Black people-these kids didn't stand a chance against the "justice" system.

But in 2003, Reyes confessed to the assault, and returned to the scene of his crime on 102 Street in Manhattan, giving intimate details only the perpetrator could know. Reyes was serving 33 13 years to life, after pleading guilty to the murder of a pregnant woman, along with four rapes. Reyes insisted he was the sole attacker, of Meili, on the night of April, 19, 1989. Analysis of the DNA evidence pointed to a single perpetrator.

Unfortunately, many in City Hall, and the NYPD, refuse to accept the obvious fact of the innocence of the Central Park Five. In fact, Koelveld has vowed the city will be "proceeding with a vigorous defense of the detectives, prosecutors and the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that each of the five plaintiffs and their family members are seeking."

This case is another example of the "wheels of justice" trampling over the lives of African-Americans-as it was designed to do. Question: why does City Hall refuse to compensate these men, who were victimized as teens, by the actions of the NYPD and New York City's District Attorney's office? Could it be they know this travesty of injustice exposes the phony practices police and prosecutors engage in against minorities routinely?

Both parties have a vested interest in continuing to accuse the Central Park Five of involvement in this crime to conceal their misconduct. Although the claim is idiotic. They maintain Reyes did the crime with the help of the teens-but won't dmit it now. These smart people would have us believe Reyes isn't lying about the rape, but he's lying when he says he did it alone. Maybe they should tell us why?

Also, Reyes committed a series of similar rapes around the same time-period. But, because of lazy prejudiced police work the dots were never connected. Or, maybe they were. Aren't most Blacks criminals anyway?
Koeleveld asserts there was "abundant probable cause" and that the confessions "withstood intense scrutiny." Bull. This attack was a brutal beating-Reyes said he thought she'd die-and rape where, reportedly, Meili lost a lot of blood.

However, except for the coerced confessions, there wasn't a scintilla of evidence supporting their guilt. Why couldn't they find any blood or bruises on these boys after such a vicious attack? Are they really telling us these boys cleaned up so well only semen from Reyes was found? These people are damn liars.

 In fact, then New York City District Attorney Robert Morgenthau talked about the "troubling discrepancies...of virtually every major aspect of the crime," when the convictions were vacated.


Why wasn't Morgenthau troubled by those "discrepancies" The truth is: prosecutors and police are only concerned with their conviction rates-especially, if the defendants are minorities. We're but steppingstones in their path to career advancement. Who cares about the actual guilt or innocence of African-Americans, or, Latinos?

The outrage of this case is another example of racism in America's courts and within law enforcement. This is where prejudice and the prison pipeline meet. America continues the bondage of African-Americans which, supposedly, ended with slavery. We must continue to support those-like Alton Maddox-who risked their lives to expose this corrupt legal law enforcement system that is wrecking the lives
of generations of our people. 

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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