The Central Park Five ~ now known as The Exonerated Five ~ have worked tirelessly toward criminal justice reform since their release. Now, a permanent exhibit will be installed in the northeast part of the park in their honor, near where the teens entered on that fateful night in April, 1989. The installation will highlight a fight for justice.
Cicely Harris, chair of Community Board 10, which covers the park, said the commemoration will cover much more than the jogger case.
“It was sparked by the Exonerated Five but it is to answer for all of the wrongfully incarcerated, wrongfully accused and then wrongfully executed people of color, or anyone that is in that situation, especially in low-income communities where they have not been heard,” Harris said.
The five teens, Salaam, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise, were picked up and charged in the attack and assaults on other people in the park that night. The quintet said they were coerced into give false confessions. Four of them were on tape. They served between 6½ and 13 years in prison for the crimes. Then, in 2002, convicted rapist and killer Matias Reyes stepped forward with a stunning claim: he alone raped the jogger, though doctors had said her physical injuries pointed to more than one attacker.
In 2014, the city settled a wrongful conviction lawsuit, paying the five $41 million but denying any wrongdoing by the NYPD or prosecutors.
A series of discussions have been ongoing for several years, now coming to a vote to move forward. Stay tuned for clarification on what form the exhibit and educational resources, will take, along with a timeline for the project.