Few people have experienced the impact of Donald Trump’s racism first-hand the way Raymond Santana, one of the Exonerated Five, has. Santana was directly attacked by Trump when he was a minor during what was known as the “Central Park Five” trial.
Just weeks after Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, and Kevin Richardson were falsely accused of raping a white woman in April of 1989 in New York City’s Central Park, Trump took out a full page ad in The New York Times calling for the children, all minors at the time, to be put to death. Each of them served between five and 12 years in prison and were all exonerated by 2014.
Raymond Santana was only 14 years old.
In a new interview with TMZ, he said about Trump — who maintains their belief that they are guilty, despite exonerative evidence — “Donald Trump’s comments towards this case, it affects us a great deal because now this is the President of the United States. This isn't the real estate tycoon who was cheating people out of money … This is now a person who runs the government.”
He continued, “For us, it's like we have to constantly walk on eggshells or we have to constantly worry about the microscope that’s on us because now you have this man who says that we're still guilty. Those scars that we have are not properly healed and every time he says we’re guilty, he rouses up people in America who feel that we're still guilty of this case and who might want to do bodily harm.”
Santana also thanked Joe Biden for mentioning their case at the last presidential debate and called out Trump saying he’s the “least racist person” in the room, “For him to say that he's the ‘least person racist in the room’ and then he looks around the room and he can't even see anybody -- even tells you himself, ‘It's too dark.’ He can't see the crowd. So, he's the only person there who is racist.”
In 2014, all five of the men were exonerated and eventually received a $41 million settlement from the city of New York. Another man, Matias Reyes, eventually confessed to the crime.
As recent as 2018, Trump refused to apologize for calling for their death, saying, “They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein, and you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city should never have settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that.”