Speaking topics: Coerced Confession, Race, Social Justice
“They said if I was there and if I went along with it, that I could go home. And that’s all I wanted. That’s all I wanted, was to go home.”
On the night of April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old female jogger was brutally attacked and raped in New York’s Central Park. After prolonged periods of police interrogation, five teenagers—including Korey Wise—falsely confessed to being involved in the attack. Then 16 years old, Wisewas tried as an adult and wrongfully convicted of assault, sexual abuse, and riot. He was sentenced to five to fifteen years in prison. In early 2002, Matias Reyes,who had been convicted of murder and rape, admitted that he alone was responsible for the attack on the Central Park jogger. On December 19, 2002, based on new DNA evidence that proved Korey’s innocence and on the recommendation of the Manhattan District Attorney, Wise’s conviction was overturned. He spent 11.5 years of his life in prison for crimes he did not commit. The investigation has raised questions regarding police coercion and false confessions, as well as the vulnerability of juveniles during police interrogations.