NEW YORK (CNN) – The five men who were wrongly convicted of beating up and raping a jogger in New York’s Central Park when they were teens in the 90s are getting a settlement from the city.
That’s according to a CNN source.
The so-called Central Park 5 were held up as the symbols of urban lawlessness in 1989.
They’ve since been exonerated and now years after a lawsuit, there’s a proposal to compensate them 40 million dollars for their prison time.
It was a story that not only gripped New York City, but enflamed racial tensions around the country.
Five black and Latino teens accused of a horrific crime: Savagely raping and beating a white woman who was jogging through central park in 1989.
She was hollering help, help.
After what appeared to be confessions, it seemed like an airtight case. The jury didn’t buy a claim the confessions were co-erced.
And although there is no DNA match from any of the teens, and the victim has no memory of the attack, each of them is found guilty.
At the time the teens are called animals, savages, Donald Trump puts out a full page ad asking to bring back the death penalty.
“If they had their way, we would have been hanging from one of those lovely trees in central park,” Yusef Salaam said. “It’s an indelible scar that’s nightmarish. You know? And that nightmare is a recurring nightmare.”
That nightmare included about 7 years in prison for four of the boys, 13 years for another, before a major break in the case in 2002.
All five convictions are thrown out, overturned after a stunning confession from a serial rapist whose DNA was found at the scene.
While the teens were in jail, the real rapist didn’t stop.
“He commits at least 5 more rapes that we know of after the Central Park jogger,” Salaam continued. “After being exonerated, it’s like somebody running free through the grass and throwing their hands up in the air and yelling ‘ah’ you know, it’s such a, the feeling is overjoy and happiness.”
Suing for damages has taken years more than a decade, but the city has always maintained it acted in good faith.
“Just as there was a speedy method, a speedy trial, a speedy means to convict us, there should be as equally a speedy method, a speedy way, to compensate us.”
Salaam once told me for him, it’s always been a criminal system of injustice. With a settlement, he says he wants to believe justice works.