Five black and Hispanic men who spent years in prison after being convicted in the horrific beating and rape of a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989 received a $40 million settlement in a lawsuit that was filed after their convictions were tossed out.
These five men became known as the “Central Park Five”, were coerced into making incriminating statements and convicted in 1990. The Central Park Five, AnTron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusuf Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise have said they were falsely accused, coerced to confess, and then convicted by juries of raping Trisha Meili, the 28-year old Yale Univeristy alumna and Wall Street Investment banker whose identity remained anonymous at the time she became known as the “Central Park Jogger” by the media.She was in a coma for 12 days, suffered permanent damage and remembers nothing about the attack.
At the time of the arrest four of the defendants were 14 to 16 years old, four of the defendants spent seven years in prison, and the fifth did thirteen years’ time. No blood or DNA tests tied the five to the jogger.
The five men were exonerated in 2002 when the actual rapist in the attack came forward. The assailant Matias Reyes, an incarcerated serial rapist and murderer confessed in 2002 and DNA linked him to the rape.
The proposed agreement between the city law department and the five men — averages about $1 million per year of incarceration, according to the source.
Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement that the tentative settlement signifies ” a monumental victory” for the men and their families. “It is also a victory for those in the community that stood with them from day one and believed in their innocence in this case,” Sharpton said “As supporters, we were viciously attached for standing with them, but we were on the right side of history.”
The lawsuit gained renewed attention in 2012, when famed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns released “Central Park Five,” a movie that cast the men as victims of racial tensions and a rush to judgement.