The infamous Central Park Jogger case in New York shook not only the city where the heinous s-xual assault of then-28-year-old investment banker Trisha Meili took place, but also the entire nation. On April 19, 1989, Meili was found r@ped and nearly beaten to death after jogging in the sprawling park. Five youth – four Black and one Hispanic – were charged for the crime, only to have their names cleared ten years ago. A new documentary from Ken Burns titled Central Park Five takes a deeper look behind the case and the continuing fight for justice of the wrongly accused.
Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, and Kharey Wise were charged as juveniles in the case just two weeks after the assault took place. According to older reports, several groups of youth were identified or identified themselves as assailants but only the aforementioned five stood trial. Via intimidation and other coercive tactics by detectives, the group essentially caved under the pressure and admitted taking part in a crime they didn’t commit.
In 2002, convicted r@pist and murderer Matias Reyes confessed to the crime and DNA evidence linked him as the lone suspect. The Central Park Five cases were vacated and struck from the books.
Three of the five men have brought suits against New York, and Ken Burns defied a city subpoena to turn over evidence and other related research used for the film. Speaking with the New York Daily News. Burns is hopeful that a proper handling of the legal matters will ensue.
“It’s the fourth quarter and they’re trying to run out the clock,” Burns said. “These young men are now all in their late 30s, and it’s been more than 20 years. What’s so incredible is that these [men] have got the courage to say, ‘We’re not giving up. This is what justice looks like.’”
Watch the trailer to Central Park Five, out now in limited theatrical release and airing on HBO next year, below.
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