Saturday, June 28, 2014

Comptroller Signs-Off On $40M ‘Central Park 5’ Settlement

"There is no amount of money that will restore our youth. We lost all those years" -  Kevin Richardson, victim.

Three of newly flush ‘Central Park 5’ say they’ll keep on working
Three of the men wrongly convicted in the horrific 1989 Central Park jogger attack spoke at an emotional press conference Friday on the steps of City Hall. After spending a combined 41¼ years in prison the five were exonerated in 2002 when rapist Matias Reyes, confessed to the crime and DNA evidence backed up his claim.   (Photo: AP) 

“In my judgement this settlement is a prudent and equitable solution for all parties to the lawsuit and closes a very difficult chapter in our city’s history,”  City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in approving the settlement.  

Mayor Michael Bloomberg disgracefully fought to get the lawsuits dismissed. 

“Bloomberg and Raymond Kelly did everything in their power to keep this case under wraps,” Michael W. Warren, one of the lawyers for the men, said of the former mayor and the former police commissioner.

Last week Donald Trump wrote a racist rant for the NY Daily News calling the settlement "a disgrace" but later took to twitter to criticize the paper for making fun of his hair and directed readers to a tasteless NY Post editorial instead.

Trump famously bought an ad in the Daily News days after the Central Park attack and called for the restoration of the state's death penalty. 

Patricia Meili, a 28-year-old an investment banker at the time, was ambushed, raped and nearly beaten to death while jogging in Central Park along a dark stretch of road near E. 103rd between the East and West Drives.  The heinous attack on the evening of April 19, 1989 and subsequent media frenzy surrounding the arrest of the "wilding" teens became one of New York's most sensational crimes.  Ms. Meili subsequently became known as the Central Park Jogger.    

 - Geoffrey Croft


Kevin Richardson speaks at Friday's news conference.  The three thanked supporters and shared some of the anger and pain of being falsely convicted.   “You all tried to dehumanize us as human beings,” Mr. Richardson said, his voice cracking as he fought back tears, and supporters rubbed his shoulders.  “But we’re still here, we’re strong,” he continued. “Nobody gave us a chance, except the people who believed in us. People called us animals — wolf pack.”  (Photo: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

Saying it “closes a very difficult chapter in our city’s history,” Comptroller Scott Stringer signed off on a $40.75 million settlement Thursday with five black and Hispanic men wrongfully convicted in the notorious 1989 rape of a Central Park jogger, according to the New York Post.
The settlement with the so-called “Central Park Five”also requires approval by Manhattan federal Judge Deborah Batts, but that is expected to be a formality.
“In my judgment, this settlement is a prudent and equitable solution for all parties to the lawsuit and closes a very difficult chapter in our city’s history,” Stringer said in a statement.
A Dark Time.

The expected agreement will resolve a $250 million civil-rights lawsuit the men filed in 2003, charging they were wrongly convicted and imprisoned in the notorious case.
Jonathan Moore, a lawyer for the men, called the settlement “substantial” but added “it can’t compensate for the injustice these young men and their families had to deal with in 1989 — and have had to live with ever since.”
The five men were found guilty at trial — and did between six and 13 years in prison — but their convictions were tossed in 2002 after a career criminal confessed to the attack.
Their suit alleged that cops forced false confessions through threats and beatings, and that key DNA evidence, which would have cleared them, was deliberately ignored.
Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise were all convicted of the beating and rape of the investment banker near the park’s Reservoir.
They are expected to appear together at a City Hall press conference at 11 am Friday to address the media.
Mayor Bill de Blasio had vowed to settle the case after taking office this year and put an end to a lurid chapter in New York history in which a “wolf pack” of “wilding” youths were said to have attacked 28-year-old Trisha Meili as she took her evening jog through the park.
In 2002, a judge granted a motion to vacate the 13-year-old convictions after a serial rapist who was already in jail said he committed the crime, a confession backed up by DNA evidence.
The Wall Street Journal, however, last week reported that two doctors who treated Meili said in recent interviews that some of her wounds were not consistent with Matias Reyes’ account of the attack.
The revelation casts doubt on the claim that Reyes was the only attacker.
The “Central Park Five,” now in their late 30s to early 40s, were 14 to 16 when arrested.
De Blasio’s desire to settle the case was in stark contrast to the Bloomberg administration’s opposition to a deal.

April 21, 1989 front page of the New York Daily News.
Front page - NY Daily News, April 21, 1989. The incident became one of New York's most sensational crimes as alleged details of the case, including the "confessions" and subsequent arrests of the five innocent youths were made public.

Read More:
NYC finalizes $40M settlement with ‘Central Park 5’
New York Post - June 26, 2014 - By Rich Calder 

New York Daily News - June 26, 2014 - By Michael J. Feeney, Daniel Beekman, Corinne Lestch    

New York Daily News - June 27, 2014 - By Corinne Lestch    

Wall Street Journal - June 20, 2014 - By Sean Gardiner 

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