Men exonerated in Central Park jogger case speak
NEW YORK (AP) — Three of the men who were wrongly convicted in the brutal 1989 Central Park jogger attack said Friday that a $40 million settlement can’t buy back the dignity or the time the case unjustly cost them.
“Y’all don’t really understand what we went through,” an emotional Kevin Richardson said. “People called us animals, wolf pack. It still hurts me emotionally.”
Richardson joined Raymond Santana and Yusef Salem to speak in front of City Hall a day after the city comptroller said he had approved a tentative settlement with them and the two others wrongly convicted in the attack. The five had sued police and prosecutors for $250 million.
Surrounded by family members and supporters, Santana lashed out at critics, including Donald Trump, who continue to assert they are guilty.
“They just can’t let it go,” Santana said. “We’re innocent. What more do you need? What more do we have to prove?”
The five black and Hispanic defendants were found guilty as teenagers in the rape and assault of a white woman who had gone for a run in the park.
The victim, then 28, was found in the brush, more than 75 percent of her blood drained from her body and her skull smashed. She was in a coma for 12 days, suffered permanent damage and remembers nothing about the attack.
The attack occurred as the city approached its peak in murders and reports that the attack occurred as youths were roaming the park gave rise to the term “wilding” for urban mayhem by marauding teenagers.
They served six to 13 years in prison before their convictions were thrown out in 2002 because of evidence that someone else, acting alone, was responsible.
The settlement still requires a judge’s approval.