New York City’s top fiscal officer called for the city to reach a settlement with the so-called Central Park Five, the young minority men who were convicted — and later exonerated — of raping a woman in 1989.
“We are calling for all the parties to come to the table and get this settled,” said John C. Liu, the New York City comptroller, in an interview with BET.com. “It has been 10 years since someone else confessed to the crime. It’s time to bring closure to this case.”
At a press conference in Harlem, Liu offered the legal expertise of his office and the around-the-clock use of his boardroom to help the parties come together and work out a settlement for the five young men, who he said were wrongfully sent to prison.
In the case, five juvenile males — four of them Black and one Latino — were convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park.
After harsh interrogation by the New York City Police Department, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise confessed to the crime. In 1990, they were convicted and sentenced to terms ranging from 5 to 15 years. They were cleared of the charges in 2002 when a man, who was serving a life sentence for other crimes, confessed to the rape.
Since then, the five men have sued the city, but the case has been tied up in the legal process.
“Both as a New Yorker and as the comptroller, I am deeply troubled by the fact that this civil rights case remains unresolved more than a decade after these convictions were vacated and nearly a quarter of a century after the occurrence of the crime that another individual has confessed to committing,” Liu said.
“These five kids may not have been angels, but that does not change the fact that they were imprisoned for a crime perpetrated by another person,” the comptroller added. “Collectively, they spent more than 30 years in prison. While no monetary award could fully repay them for this imprisonment, the city must make an effort to correct this tremendous injustice, which robbed them of their youth.”
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(Photo: D Dipasupil/Getty Images)