Exoneration Anniversary: Central Park Five
Photo: Korey Wise with two children from the Street Squash program.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the day that five men—
—known as the “Central Park Five,” were exonerated through DNA testing. They had been wrongfully convicted of raping and assaulting a female jogger in Central Park on April 19, 1989 based on their false and coerced confessions.
The Central Park Five, a Ken Burns’ documentary about the wrongful conviction, and the book that it is based on, have revitalized interest in the case and shed light on the hardship that the co-defendants and their families have endured. Since the film’s release in November, the exonerees have been traveling and speaking publicly about their story.
The Harlem-based youth center Street Squash recently invited Wise to come and speak to middle school age boys involved in its after school program. Looking around the room, Wise was couldn’t help but notice that the boys were just a little younger than he had been when the crime occurred. Wise and his co-defendants were teenagers at the time, between the ages of 14 and 16. Because Wise was the oldest, he received the harshest sentence, serving over 11 years in a maximum-security facility before his release. He is now 40 years old. “I’m glad to be alive to see my young brothers,” he greeted the boys.
When they asked why he falsely confessed, he explained that for seasoned detectives, getting a confession out of a young, inexperienced boy like him was like “taking candy from a baby.” Looking around the room, he cautioned, “I don’t want to see this repeated.”
about the Central Park Five case
about the documentary
Other exoneration anniversaries this week:
, Louisiana (Served 17 years, Exonerated 12/17/99)
, New Jersey (Served 5 years, Exonerated 12/20/99)
Billy Wayne Miller
, Texas (Served 22 years, Exonerated 12/20/06)
, New York (Served 17 years, Exonerated 12/21/05)
, Indiana (Served 18.5 years, Exonerated 12/21/01)
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Claudia Sema August 5, 2016 at 8:30 pm
I am happy to hear that you are able to go on with your life. I have just now seen the documentary of your previous or maybe still ongoing ordeal. I do understand that this will never be forgotten, the public your family, friends and much more. If you and your friends don’t mind I will write my Master Thesis about how and what part police misconduct, interrogation ethics and brutality have played a great role in your conviction and the role of the innocent project. I do no agree with the tactics that was used and unfortunately I am very sorry that you and your friends as well as your family have had to go through.
I would be happy if you could be in contact, email would be great, for further questions I may have. I know it is hard and I am not to sure if this will reach you but I am feeling with you and everyone else who has to go through such treatment from authorities who supposed to help citizens.
I am sorry but I could go on and on but I let you think about what I have asked and I thank you for your consideration. Good luck in all your future endeavors.