New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has agreed to settle the Central Park Five case -- a decade-long, $250 million lawsuit brought by the five men wrongly convicted of beating and raping a jogger in Central Park on the night of April 19, 1989. Filmmaker Ken Burns, whose 2012 documentary “The Central Park Five” tells the story of that dark chapter in New York City history, confirmed the news during an appearance on HuffPost Live Tuesday.
“These kids served upwards of 13 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit,” Burns said. “After they got out, they were exonerated. They then launched a civil suit against the city of New York that’s now 10 years old, and the city has just stalled and refused to settle what is clearly something that benefits not just the Five and their families, but the detectives and prosecutors who made a mistake and the people of the city of New York, and the rest of us that all bought it lock, stock and barrel back in 1989.
"Bill de Blasio, the mayor-elect, has agreed to settle this case, and though this is justice delayed way too long, and that is justice denied, [they] will not only be exonerated ... but they will have justice, they will see some closure, they will be able to be made whole," Burns added.
As 27east.com reports, five juveniles from Harlem -- Yusef Salaam, 15, Korey Wise, 16, Kevin Richardson, 14, Antron McCray, 15, and Raymond Santana, 14 -- were found guilty of raping Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old Salomon Brothers employee who lived on the Upper East Side, as she went jogging in Central Park. The crime sparked outrage in New York City and made headlines around the world, as the attack was seen as emblematic of New York City’s escalating crime problem. In 1990, four of the five suspects received a sentence of five to 10 years in a juvenile correctional facility, and one received a sentence of five to 15 years.
Convicted rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the crime in 2002. According to the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office compared Reyes’ DNA with samples taken from the Central Park crime scene. The results confirmed that Reyes had committed the crime, and the convictions of the Central Park Five were overturned.
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In 2003, Richardson, Santana and McCray filed a lawsuit against the City of New York for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination and emotional distress, 27east.com said.