Donald Trump attacked the city of New York in an op-ed Saturday for offering a large cash settlement to the Central Park 5, young men who were jailed as teens for a brutal rape they didn’t commit.
“My opinion on the settlement of the Central Park Jogger case is that it’s a disgrace,” Trump wrote in a New York Daily News op-ed that also called the deal “ridiculous.”
The $40 million settlement was a long time coming for the five men, who were pressured to confess to the notorious 1989 rape and vicious beating of the so-called Central Park Jogger. The convicted men spent between five and 13 years behind bars before an unrelated man named Matias Reyes confessed in 2002 that he was the rapist and that he acted alone. Reyes’ DNA was linked to the crime scene.
In his op-ed, Trump implies that the Central Park 5 somehow had a false conviction coming to them and had pulled a fast one on the city.
“Forty million dollars is a lot of money for the taxpayers of New York to pay when we are already the highest taxed city and state in the country. The recipients must be laughing out loud at the stupidity of the city,” he wrote. “Speak to the detectives on the case and try listening to the facts. These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels.”
The young men he’s talking about were all black and Hispanic and only between 14 and 16 years old when they were interrogated. One detective admitted lying to one of the boys by saying they’d found his fingerprints on the rape victim’s clothes. The five boys were still convicted, even though their accounts of the rape were wildly inconsistent and they recanted their confessions.
The city’s settlement gives the men $US1 million for each year they served in prison. Four of the five men — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana Jr., and Yusef Salaam — served approximately seven years in prison. But since the fifth man, Kharey Wise, served 13 years. The approved settlement would mean the city will pay Wise more money than it has in all other wrongful conviction cases.
Additional reporting by Corey Adwar.
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