- New York City 06/20/2014 by Linda Perry (WBAI)
City Hall, February 2014
Photo: WBAI News
It looks like the Central Park Five will finally get paid.
Corey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana were wrongly convicted in the brutal beating and rape of the Central Park Jogger back in 1989. They have been locked in a bitter civil rights lawsuit with the City since their convictions were vacated in 2002.
Now they have a tentative $40 million deal with the City. Comptroller Scott Stringer on Friday said his office has received settlement papers. Neither the Central Park Five nor their lawyers are commenting on details of the agreement until it is finalized.
Back in February at a City Hall rally calling for Justice for the Central Park Five, Charles Barron said no amount of money will make up for the men's lost youth.
Raymond Santana describing what the five experienced said, “It’s been twenty five years since we went through this great injustice. The labels, the forced imprisonment, the destruction of our family structures, the turning of the backs, the ridicule.”
They were teens, fourteen and fifteen year olds when their arrests and trials made national headlines and inflamed the City’s simmering racial tensions.
“People to this day think we had some kind of involvement with something that happened in Central Park." said Yusef Salam. “We were innocent witnesses, but we were the ones who were most vulnerable. We were the ones when we went in we were hoodwinked, tricked, led astray, but never again.
Kevin Richardson said the struggle continues. “Everywhere is another Central Park Five, so we must put a closure and stop to this before this happens again. And we will use our platform to do so."
Many say the Central Park Five are the modern Scottsboro boys, that a settlement would finally close the door on one of the worst chapters in the New York City's history and bring a sense of closure to the men, their families and their communities.