$40 million Awarded to 5 Young Men Wrongly Convicted
The five men who were convicted of beating and raping the “Central Park Jogger” in the late 1980’s are actually innocent. The five black men were teens when they were accused. Their case triggered a feeding frenzy of publicity, in which the media widely presumed them to be guilty. Unfair police tactics led to false confessions. Years later, DNA evidence shows these defendants were not guilty. This case is an example of the legal system rushing to judgment, and allowing the police, who are supposed to uphold the criminal laws, to profile and unjustly condemn young black men.
The settlement, reached between New York City and the five young men, brings to an end an extraordinary legal battle over a crime that came to symbolize a sense of lawlessness in New York, amid reports of “wilding” youths and a marauding “wolf pack” that set its sights on a 28-year-old investment banker who ran in the park many evenings after work.
Finally, 25 years later, justice has been served. This case shows the racism in our legal system, and how easily the courts can be lead to condemn innocent defendants. This case is an example of our legal system at its worst. Innocent defendants who served many years in prison finally will receive compensation.