The Central Park Rape Files

In an article in regards to the election of Yusef Salaam, of the “Central Park Five,” to the New York City Council final week, the New York Times’ Jeffery C. Mays indignantly cited the full-page advert Donald Trump had taken out on the time, which by no means talked about the Central Park rape however decried crime within the metropolis and known as for reinstitution of the loss of life penalty.

Mays described the case in opposition to The Five thus:

The confessions of Mr. Salaam and the 4 others who had been convicted alongside him had been coerced. There was no DNA proof tying the youngsters — Mr. Salaam, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Antron McCray — to the brutal assault. Mr. Trump’s racist rantings solely infected [racial] tensions.

Yusef Salaam of the “Central Park Five” speaks to the media after profitable a New York City Council seat throughout a watch celebration  in Harlem, New York, on November 7, 2023. (CECILIA SANCHEZ/AFP by way of Getty Images)

Two of these claims are laughably false, and the third is totally meaningless.

Meaningless: It’s a sleight of hand to say that there was “no DNA evidence” tying The Five to the crime. Yeah, that’s in all probability as a result of in 1989, nobody would have been on the lookout for DNA.

Back then, DNA testing was a novel scientific method. It required a lot bigger samples than are vital at this time, and the pattern couldn’t be contaminated and the checks weren’t dependable.

You may as effectively complain that the police didn’t use cellphone monitoring, both.

In New York, only some felony courts had even been confronted with the choice of whether or not to confess DNA proof, and no appellate courtroom had dominated on its admissibility.

On the eve of the trial a 12 months later, semen discovered on the jogger was despatched to the FBI for testing (outcome inconclusive) over the ferocious objections of attorneys for The Five, who argued that “DNA testing is an area still under study and under consideration and has not been regarded in the scientific community of sufficient reliability as to permit its admission into evidence.”

Investigators would have been insane to depend on DNA to show their case. No effort would have been made to gather and protect it. Just three months earlier than the rape, serial killer Ted Bundy had been executed with out anybody pondering to run a DNA check.

A police officer searches Central Park the place a jogger was raped in April 1989. (David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive by way of Getty Images)

Pre-DNA, the best way investigators proved their instances was with different proof — blood and grass stains on The Five’s underwear, for instance — interviewing suspects and witnesses and, in the event that they had been fortunate and the proof compelling, getting the suspects to admit. That’s precisely how the case in opposition to the Central Park Five was made.

Here’s simply some of the proof in opposition to The Five:

— When Santana was being pushed to the precinct home for common mayhem, he blurted out: “I had nothing to do with the rape. All I did was feel the woman’s tits.”

At this level, the jogger’s physique hadn’t been discovered but. The police knew nothing about any rape.

— Another boy, picked up with Richardson, instructed the police that he knew who did “the murder,” naming McCray. Richardson concurred, saying, “Yeah. That’s who did it.”

Again, the police had been unaware of any rape or homicide.

The subsequent morning, Richardson pointed to the 102nd Street transverse, telling officers, “This is where we got her.”

— Dennis Commedo, a part of the bigger group wilding that night time, instructed the police that, when he bumped into Richardson, he had mentioned, “We just raped somebody.”

— Two of Wise’s mates mentioned that the following day, he instructed them, “You heard about that woman that was beat up and raped in the park last night? That was us!”

Daily News entrance web page for April 21, 1989. (NY Daily News by way of Getty Images)

— Another boy arrested for among the different assaults, however not the rape, instructed detectives (on videotape) that he overheard Santana and a pal laughing about how they’d “made a woman bleed.”

— Quite a lot of the youths introduced within the night time of the assault implicated Salaam (our newly elected councilman) within the jogger’s rape.

Orlando Escobar, for instance, told police he noticed Salaam (our newly elected councilman) and others leaving the 102nd Street transverse the place the jogger was raped.

— Blood stains had been discovered on Salaam’s jacket. (He’s our newly elected councilman.)

— Salaam (our newly elected councilman) confessed to the rape after the detective questioning him mentioned that fingerprints had been discovered on the jogger’s clothes. Why would he try this — except he knew the prints could be his?

Four of The Five gave videotaped confessions, a minimum of three of them within the presence of parents or guardians. Defense attorneys spent weeks attacking the confessions as “coerced,” however two multicultural juries and the trial choose concluded that the confessions had been voluntary. Taking the opposite facet is a few bimbo with a Netflix documentary, on the idea of no proof in any way.

Moreover, recall that when The Five confessed, nobody knew whether or not the jogger would emerge from her coma and be capable to determine her attackers.

Forget embarrassing — it might be career-ending for a detective to have coerced confessions from The Five, solely to have the jogger get up and exclaim, My boyfriend did it! (That was one of many theories shouted by the anti-jogger protesters exterior the courthouse, together with the allegation that she was assembly her drug vendor within the park.)

Suspect Yusef Salaam (left) is led away by a New York police detective after being arrested in Central Park for allegedly attacking a jogger. (William LaForce Jr./NY Daily News Archive by way of Getty Images)

More than a decade later, when psychopathic killer Matias Reyes got here ahead to “confess” that he alone had raped the jogger — a criminal offense for which he would face no extra punishment — DNA testing on the semen may show solely that he’d raped her, not that he’d acted alone, or whether or not, as a former cellmate says, he’d heard the jogger’s screams and ran to hitch the assault in progress.

It was all the time identified that there have been different rapists. Thus, in her summation to the jury, prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer said: “Others, who were not caught, raped her and got away.”

Under the legislation, anybody who participated within the assault was responsible of her rape, even when he “only held her legs down while Kevin f—ed her,” as Wise confided to a pal’s sister. (The sister volunteered this data to the police, pondering it might assist him.)

Reyes not solely confronted no extra punishment for his “confession,” however he was rewarded with a good jail switch. But his phrase is the only real truth on which the “exoneration” of The Five rests. The police had been prohibited from interviewing Reyes. He was not given a polygraph. There was no listening to to find out his credibility. His personal lawyer described Reyes as a “psychopath who cannot separate fact from fancy.” (He mentioned, for instance, that the jogger bought up and ran away after he savagely raped her.)

Newly elected councilman Salaam and the Times’ Mays contend that the case in opposition to The Five was racism, pure and easy. Salaam says the only, solitary cause he and the others had been accused was that “black and brown people” had been “instantly [deemed] guilty, without a chance of proving their innocence.”

“Black and brown people” weren’t solely deemed responsible — they had been responsible. Reyes, the one even liberals admit was responsible, is “brown.”

Indeed, the one potential suspects had been “black and brown”: the youths wilding within the park that night time, violently attacking park-goers, together with different runners, a pair on a tandem bike and a taxi driver. At least one male jogger was hospitalized after being knocked to the bottom, kicked, punched and crushed with a pipe and a stick.

If The Five had been accused solely as a result of they had been “black or brown,” why weren’t any of the opposite 37 youths arrested that night time charged with the jogger’s rape? Why these 5? As I perceive it, the cops’ rationale was: Others recognized them because the rapists, and so they confessed. On videotape. After being given relaxation, meals and water. Four of the 5 within the presence of grownup kin.

As for Trump rising racial tensions, a 28-year-old funding banker going for a run had been brutalized so badly that she’d misplaced three-quarters of her blood. Her case was initially assigned to the murder unit as a result of none of her docs thought she’d survive the night time.

I believe the Central Park rape would have heightened racial “tensions” with none nudging from Trump.

Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, and Raymond Santana of the “Central Park Five” attend the disclosing of the “Gate of the Exonerated” in Harlem on December 19, 2022, in New York City. (Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Finally, Reyes’ “confession” truly proved that a minimum of one in all The Five was there. In 1989, Wise mentioned somebody he thought was named “Rudy” had stolen the jogger’s Walkman. The officer’s contemporaneous notes state: “persons present when girl raped. … Rudy — played with tits/took walkman.”

At that point, the detectives had no concept that the jogger had been carrying a Walkman. Thirteen years later, Reyes mentioned he stole it. How did Wise know a Walkman had been stolen if he wasn’t there?

This was such an necessary incontrovertible fact that the DA pushing for The Five’s convictions to be vacated lied about it. In help of the movement to vacate, the district lawyer’s workplace pressured that, “None of the defendants mentioned the jogger’s Walkman.” (Paragraph 92, in Assistant District Attorney Nancy E. Ryan’s Affirmation in Response to Motion To Vacate Judgment of Conviction.)

Salaam cites Scripture loads. Everyone concerned within the “exoneration” of The Five ought to recollect Proverbs 19:9: “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.”

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