Last night Maori TV showed The Central Part Five, the harrowing story of five African American teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of gang raping, battering and nearly murdering a white jogger in Central Park in 1989.
The most distressing part of the film is the beginning, which depicts how Central Precinct cops terrorized five innocent teenagers (age 14-16) – by depriving them food, water and sleep – into signing a a confession in which they incriminated each other of various aspects of the crime. Although they were all minors, no parents were present in the interrogation room, a violation of New York state law.
There was no consistency whatsoever between the five statements as to the exact location of the rape or exactly who was responsible for grabbing the woman, beating her, undressing her or having sex with her. None of the boys had traces of her blood on them, and there was no trace of their DNA on her body. Moreover the timeline constructed by the police establishes clearly they were in another area of the park when the woman was attacked.
In 2001, they were exonerated when a convicted serial rapist came forward and confessed to the crime. When the police investigated, not only did his DNA match the rape kit sample, but he related details of the crime that were never made public.
The eldest, who was sentenced as an adult, has served 13 years when he was released in 2002. The others had received conditional releases after 7 years, though one had be re-arrested on a drugs charge.
The case received massive publicity in 1989, in part due to Donald Trump taking out a full page ad calling for the boys’ execution. New York police and prosecutors have never acknowledged their wrongdoing.
I remember that case at the time. The headlines screamed that they were guilty and we all moved on with our lives and the next story. Re-blogging, thank you.
I lived in Seattle, Lou, and we were treated to the same headlines. Thanks for reblogging.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pingback: The Central Park 5: A Classic Case of Racist Law Enforcement (Film and review) | Tales from the Conspiratum
“The case received massive publicity in 1989, in part due to Donald Trump taking out a full page ad calling for the boys’ execution.”
And this is why I say that America is eyeball deep in racism because those five could have been executed and they were innocent and that draft dodging, misogynistic, “Grab them by the pussy,” egotistical, megalomaniac is now president. That is why I have stated, many times over, that Donald Trump IS AmeriKKKa and there ain’t no getting around that.
You see he hasn’t taken out a ‘full page ad about how he called for the execution of five innocent Black teenagers and he won’t. And if they had been executed, who would have gave a damn other than their parents? This just makes my blood boil!
My sentiments exactly, Shelby. Americans got exactly what they deserve when they elected Trump – there’s a certain poetic justice in it. These 5 boys were good boys with caring parents – ironically the parents were at the the Central Park police station when they signed the coerced confessions – but the police forced them to leave the room so they could more effectively browbeat their sons. I find it extremely telling that three of them earned college degrees during their seven years of incarceration.
LikeLiked by 1 person
An ongoing story that has played out for African Americans for centuries – over and over until it lives in their bones. It will never disappear.
In my view, Claire, racism is an invention of capitalism and colonialism and the only way to make it disappear is to dismantle capitalism.
Pingback: False Confessions: How Police Pressure Innocent People to Confess | The Most Revolutionary Act