The “Central Park Five” Settle With New York City For $40 Million

New York City has reached a $40 million settlement with the five wrongfully convicted men who as teenagers were falsely accused and imprisoned for an attack on a jogger.

In 1989, a white female investment banker named Trisha Meili was brutally beaten and raped while jogging in Central Park at nighttime. Meili fell into a coma and remembers nothing about the attack. The NYPD pinned the brutality on five Black and Latino teenaged boys, despite the fact that some of the evidence didn’t add up. 

The five teens, who came from the poorer neighborhood of Harlem, had been depicted in the press as a “wolf pack” terrorizing innocent people in the Park, which was described as “wilding.” At the time, the boys — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana (pictured above) and Korey Wise — were only 14 to 16 years old. In “Central Park Five,” an excellent Ken Burns documentary about the justice system’s mishandling of the case, the now-adult men described how they were coerced into confessions by police. At the time, they were scared kids and too young to understand the lasting implications of their false confessions. The “Central Park Jogger” case became a flashpoint for race and gender issues in the country.

Thirteen years later, DNA evidence exonerated the five men. The actual attacker was a serial rapist named Matias Reyes who confessed to the attack. The convictions of the five men (four of whom served seven years in prison; one of whom served 13) have since been vacated.

The $40 million settlement would come out to roughly $1 million for each year of false imprisonment the men suffered. According to The New York Times, the settlement must be approved by the city comptroller and then by a judge. PBS has an update on where the accused men are living and working today.

[New York Times]
[New York Daily News]
[PBS.org: “Central Park Five”]

[Image via Getty]

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