Exonerated Central Park Five to Settle for $40M
MANHATTAN (CN) - New York City will pay $40 million to atone for locking up five black and Latino teenagers wrongly blamed for the notorious rape of a Central Park jogger in 1989, The New York Times reported.
Antron McRay, Raymond Santana Jr., Kharey Wise, Kevin Richardson and Yusef Salaam were between the ages of 14 and 16 when they became suspects in the horrific sexual assault.
The victim, who identified herself as Trisha Meili in her memoir "I Am the Central Park Jogger," was found several hours after being raped. Her left eye nearly had been removed from the socket, she had lost more than 80 percent of her blood, and a fractured skull obliterated her memory of the attack.
The gruesome case sparked racially charged myths of gangs of black and Latino "wolf packs" committing crime sprees that they supposedly called "wilding."
Kept away from their families and lawyers for days, the five teenagers confessed under interrogation by more than a dozen detectives, officers and prosecutors at the District Attorney's Office. They have contended ever since that police manipulated their admissions.
McRay, Santana, Richardson and Salaam served seven-year sentences, and Wise had been incarcerated for more than a decade before meeting convicted rapist and murderer Matias Reyes in prison.
Reyes eventually admitted to having attacked Meili, and DNA testing corroborated his confession.
The Central Park Five, as they came to be known, had their convictions vacated, and they sued the city, the police, the District Attorney's Office, interrogators and prosecutors in 2003.
Their civil suit languished for more than a decade under the administration of three-term New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who insisted that there was probable cause to suspect them for the crime.
A recent documentary, "The Central Park Five," by Ken Burns; his daughter, Sarah Burns; and her husband, David McMahon, drew renewed attention to their cause last year, and Bloomberg's successor, Mayor Bill de Blasio, promised on the campaign trail to settle their case.
An anonymous source told The New York Times on Thursday that the promise had been fulfilled, in a settlement that adds up to roughly $1 million for every year the men spent behind bars.
The settlement has not yet been made available on the public docket, and a hearing date does not appear to have been set for its approval.
Neither Jonathan Moore, an attorney for the five with Beldock Levine & Hoffman, nor the New York City Law Department have returned requests for comment.