On April 19, 1989 the world came to a screeching halt for five teenagers. On that fateful night, five Harlem teens were arrested and subsequently charged with raping and brutalizing a female jogger in Central Park. Not until 2002 would all five be free from prison, after serving a combined total of 44 years for a crime, the world would see, they never committed.
As the Central Park Five were hauled off to prison, another young man would go on to rape at least four more women, killing one pregnant mother in front of her children. Matias Reyes was 17 years old in 1989 but it would take him until 2001 before he would admit to raping and beating that jogger on April 19. He assumed she would die as more than 80% of her blood stained the ground of Central Park.
Following Matias Reyes' confession and DNA match in 2001, the Central Park Five's convictions were vacated. But by that time, they had grown into men, several of them completing their prison sentences.
They each lost anywhere from 6 to 14 years of their freedom at the hands of the city and NYC has yet to offer any apology, let alone a monetary settlement. The group filed suit against the city in 2002. Eight years later, the city has failed to move on their case. Some are blaming "foot dragging city attorneys" for the hold up. What exactly is causing the stall-out isn't clear but something must be done.
New York State Senator Bill Perkins recently sponsored a bill asking for the recognition of the five men and compensation for their wrongful conviction. City Councilman Charles Barron attends rallies for the five and states "We should push Mayor Bloomberg" to take action. It's clear that Mayor Bloomberg and the attorneys for the City are quite content to allow the situation to stagnate. Let's show them that the country won't stand by and allow this injustice to continue. Take action by showing your support for the Central Park Five.
Photo credit: Banspy
The fact is, these men deserve more than a simple recognition--they deserve compensation. Their civil case has been stalled for numerous years without logical explanation and that fact is simply unacceptable. Eight years after their release and 21 years after the night of their arrest, Kharey Wise, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCrae, and Yusef Salaam deserve justice.
Senator Bill Perkins recently sponsored a measure asking for recognition and closure in this case that serves as a black eye to the city's justice system. I ask that this measure be passed and also that the city take the initiative in giving these men what they unquestionably deserve. Sitting on this case will not make it go away. The nation is watching as the city of New York shows total disregard for what's right in regards to the Central Park Five. Please stop sweeping this case under the rug and address it accordingly.