Three members of the New York’s Central Park Five, who were wrongfully convicted in 1989 for the rape of a woman jogger in Central Park due to false confessions, have joined with the Innocence Project to help pass long-stalled New York legislation requiring police to record interrogations and implement eyewitness identification reform to protect against misidentification and false confession.
Some of the Central Park members—Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, and Raymond Santana—launched #ENDNYWrongfulConviction.
Four of the teenagers, now grown men, confessed to the rape after 14 to 30 hours of interrogations, conducted by police without lawyers present.
The young men were sentenced to 7 to 13 years in prison for the rape of Trisha Meli, an investment banker, who was running in the park.
Donald Trump, who is seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president, placed full-page ads in newspapers, calling for the teenagers’ executions, which some argue led to their convictions.
Meanwhile Matias Reyes, the actual rapist, remained free to commit at least four additional sexual assaults and a murder. He later confessed to the Central Park rape and DNA evidence confirmed he was the rapist.
In a series of short videos produced by filmmaker Sarah Burns, daughter of celebrated documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Salaam, Richardson and Santana call for passage of the legislation.
“We spent precious years of our lives in prison. The public never got a chance to see how these false confessions started. They only saw the ending,” Salaam said.
The two other members of the Central Park Five are Korey Wise and Antron McCray.
Sarah Burns also served as co-director of the 2012 documentary “The Central Park Five” (see this week’s video).
100 Black Men of London turns 15
100 Black Men of London celebrates its 15th anniversary this month after the organization was founded in May 2002.
Founders held its first meeting in the basement of a restaurant. A handful of men met to discuss their vision of establishing an entity led by black men to empower the community. Through word of mouth, more black men heard about the initiative to support young people in the community through a self-sufficient and self-funded organization. More than 900 young people have participated in 100 Black Men of London’s mentoring program.
Since its founding, 100 Black Men of London has become an influential force in London and across England.