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The Victims of the Central Park Jogger Case @ 500 Pearl Street Still Seeking Restitution For Wrongful Convictions

The Central Park Joggers Victims Still Fighting

New York City For Restitution For Wrongful Conviction

Each Name Has A Real Story.

(There are OTHERS who “copped-out”/Part II will explore what happened there)

  1.  Antron McCray,

  2. Kevin Richardson,

  3. Raymond Santana,

  4. Yusef Salaam, and

  5. Kharey Wise

On Monday, September 24, 2012 at 3PM  Hon. Ronald L. Ellis, United States Magistrate Judge presides over A VERY LONG BATTLE FOR RESTITUTION FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTION THE CENTRAL PARK JOGGERS CASE  that began on APRIL 19, 1989. !!!!  23 YEARS & 5 DAYS LATER  “Judge wants records of ex-cops who helped wrongly convict ‘jogger’ case teens, New York Post, By Bruce Golding   !!

These 5 men were then teenage boys from 14-16 years old.  They were rounded up as a “Wolf Pack” tortured psychologically for sure, kept from their parents, corralled into confessions.  These 5 teenagers parents’ took it to trial.  They were held as adults and convicted as adults – sending them to maximum state prisons with hardened men inside.  This is inclusive to what happened to those tortured teenagers who were also cohersed to  plead out/Copped Out on a various number of lessor offences.  These men are not a part of this case before this Federal Court Demanding Compensation.

“Arguably the most powerful film presented at this year’s Cannes Film Festival was screened with virtually no promotion and out of competition Thursday night. The film, The Central Park Five, by Ken Burns, America’s leading documentary filmmaker (The Civil War, Baseball, The War)  and his daughter Sara and son-in-law David McMahon, tells the story of the five teenagers who were arrested following the Central Park jogger attack in 1989 and how New York police and prosecutors employed manipulative interrogation to crack them, coerce their confessions, and send them to prison.”  Source: http://www.studiobriefing.net/2012/05/ken-burns-film-stuns-cannes-film-festival/

“Despite evidence of intimidation and other impropriety which led to the convictions, legal counsel for the City of New York will not settle, maintaining that “The charges against the plaintiffs and other youths were based on abundant probable cause, including confessions that withstood intense scrutiny, in full and fair pretrial hearings and at two lengthy public trials.”

“ It is a travesty of justice not to settle. Not only did the DNA evidence clear them, but the evidence that the police coerced out of them didn’t make any sense because…they were under such tortuous pressure from the police,” said New York City Councilman Charles Barron (D-District 42, Brooklyn) in an exclusive interview with theGrio. “They didn’t have anything connecting them to the crime.  They said the woman lost 75 percent of her blood, and none of her blood was on the young men, no semen, nothing was found,” Barron added.  “Reyes, who did confess, went on to commit other tragic crimes before he was arrested.”  Source: http://thegrio.com/2011/05/03/central-park-5-still-seeking-justice-in-nyc-jogger-case/

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September 24, 2012 WE SIT 1 YEAR 7 DAYS & 4 MONTHS LATER IN FEDERAL COURT FOR SAME DISCOVERY PROCESSES TO DISCOVER THAT THESE MEN WERE FRAMED?!

 Full Reprint Below – Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/06/central-park-five-jogger-rape-case-compensation_n_858795.html  

 NEW YORK — When police in New York are accused of misconduct, Matt Sledge, 5/17/11 for the Huffington Post, the city usually likes to settle quickly and quietly. New York City dished out $117 million to people who brought such claims in 2009.

But for the Central Park Five, the group of Black and Latino teenagers who were accused of raping a jogger in 1989 and spent years in prison before having their convictions thrown out, compensation from police or prosecutors has proven elusive. Their civil rights lawsuits are still pending more than seven years after they filed them in 2003. Their lawsuits are still in the discovery phase and any trial is, at the very least, months away.”

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Source:  The Central Park Jogger Case: A Lesson on Wrongful Convictions. By Julia Dahl

“According to Barry Scheck, the director of the Innocence Project, assisted in the exoneration and said, “we have alot to learn from what the police-themedia-did wrong back in 1989.”  The New York District Attorney’s Association agrees that videotaping suspects from the moment they are brought in for questioning is the correct reform, but won’t endorse a mandate to do so.

“If this had been mandated [in 1989] they wouldn’t have been able to coerce those confessions from those juveniles,” said Scheck. “There is almost nothing more powerful that can go in front of the jury than a confession… hopefully jurors are becoming more knowledgeable that false confessions are something that happen.”

Raymond Sanchez, Jr. and Korey Wise, two of the Central Park Five, attended the event. Sanchez, who was just 14-years-old when he was arrested, interrogated and tried for the rape and beating, served nearly seven years in prison and is now suing the city. Sanchez told The Crime Report that he believes what happened to him can, and will, happen again.

“At the end of the day I hope that people can be human enough to say, ‘We made a mistake, we’re sorry, and we’re going to correct it,’” he said. “Only then can we move forward.”

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FULL REPRINT Source:  http://thegrio.com/2011/05/03/central-park-5-still-seeking-justice-in-nyc-jogger-case/

Over two decades have passed since five black and Latino adolescents were convicted in New York City for rape in the infamous Central Park jogger case. Known as the Central Park Five, they were sentenced for the rape and brutal beating of 28-year-old investment banker Trisha Meili, a crime they did not commit — based on forced confessions and a lack of evidence. Now the five men are approaching middle age and are still seeking justice.

Matias Reyes Confessed Rapist Central Park Jogger

Matias Reyes Confessed Rapist Central Park Jogger

Although Matias Reyes, the actual perpetrator, confessed in 2002 — and the convictions of the five innocent men were vacated soon thereafter — the case is still in the news. Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise each served between 6 and 14 of their prime years in adult maximum security prisons, their youth taken from them. They never received an apology.

Now they are seeking $50 million apiece in compensation from the city for malicious prosecution  — for a total of a quarter of a billion dollars — and the city refuses to settle. Observers maintain this case is still significant because of the lessons it teaches about the continued criminalization of people of color in America, and the wrongful incarceration of black and Latino men in America’s prison system.

On April 19, 1989, Meili was raped and nearly beaten to death while jogging in New York’s Central Park. She suffered numerous injuries, including skull fractures and lacerations and severe blood loss. The five young men who were ultimately indicted, tried and convicted say they were coerced into a confession. At the time, police attributed the crime to marauding gangs of teens who engaged in what was termed “wilding.”  Those who committed such acts became known as “wolf packs.” Once again, as in other points in American history, associations between animals and black criminality became part of the public conscience.

In 1989, Donald Trump paid $85,000 for full-page ads in four of the New York-area newspapers. Under the headline “Bring Back the Death Penalty,” Trump wrote, “They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.”

Members of the Central Park Five believe that Trump’s call for the death penalty — for minors in a non-capital case — only served to create a hostile media environment before the teens went to trial. A new book on the case by New York Daily News staff writer Sarah Burns, called The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding, suggests that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric was one of numerous factors which resulted in injustice for the Central Park defendants.

Despite evidence of intimidation and other impropriety which led to the convictions, legal counsel for the City of New York will not settle, maintaining that “The charges against the plaintiffs and other youths were based on abundant probable cause, including confessions that withstood intense scrutiny, in full and fair pretrial hearings and at two lengthy public trials.”

“It is a travesty of justice not to settle. Not only did the DNA evidence clear them, but the evidence that the police coerced out of them didn’t make any sense because…they were under such tortuous pressure from the police,” said New York City Councilman Charles Barron (D-District 42, Brooklyn) in an exclusive interview with theGrio. “They didn’t have anything connecting them to the crime.  They said the woman lost 75 percent of her blood, and none of her blood was on the young men, no semen, nothing was found,” Barron added.  “Reyes, who did confess, went on to commit other tragic crimes before he was arrested.”

The African-American lawmaker and longtime community activist has introduced a resolution calling for the City of New York to compensate the men for their false imprisonment, without the need for a trial.  Barron noted that the city recently settled a case with a drug dealer, but won’t settle out of court with the Central Park Five, after stealing the best years of their life and bringing financial devastation to their families.  Further, the councilman views the Central Park Five case within a larger context of the criminalization of black men in the U.S.  “You always hear about black on black crime. Why is it that only our race is color-connected to crime?  White people commit crimes against white, Asian against Asian. You never hear about other groups committing crimes against their own people.  It is a constant process of criminalizing and seeing black men as animals, savages and beasts fixated on criminal behavior,” Barron noted.  “Do we commit crime, yes, but it is not peculiar to us.”

When asked why the city refuses to settle with these men, the councilman suggested that doing so would create an embarrassment by exposing the abuses of the criminal justice system.  This would force the city to address the police practice of coercion.  “Why not settle?  Because if they do settle it is an indictment— coercing innocent people into saying they’re guilty. They would be on spotlight, and the D.A. would be on spotlight for convicting without any evidence.  The judge and jury would be on spotlight for being racist, incompetent and foul, so I think the city is looking at all of that, and the elected officials that called them animals, Mayor David Dinkins and Donald Trump called them everything but a child of God,” Barron said.  “It puts them all on the spot.  Once they say they’re wrong that’s a lot of wrong, and a lot of wrong continuing to this day.  How many other youngsters have been coerced?”

But Barron also thinks there is another reason why the city will not settle out of court: “It is the attack on black men, the attack on black people, the continuing criminalizing of black people even when they are innocent.  [The attack on] Black Wall Street started when a black man was accused of raping white women.  How many times does this happen when we are fixated with raping white women and it doesn’t happen?”

According to Barron, we must analyze the Central Park jogger case and its aftermath within a larger framework of a history of crimes committed against communities of color.  In 1921, a mob of 10,000 white men destroyed the prosperous black community of Tulsa, known as Greenwood or Black Wall Street.  The white community, resenting the success of their African-American neighbors, lynched at least 300 black residents.  The riot began after rumors had spread that a black man had raped a white woman in an elevator.

Some in the black community have compared the Central Park Five to the Scottsboro Boys. In 1931, nine black teenagers in Scottsboro, Alabama — ranging in age from thirteen to nineteen — were accused of gang raping two white women. Tried without adequate representation, they were sentenced to death by all-white juries, despite a lack of evidence.  One of the women later recanted.

Meanwhile, there are more contemporary examples of innocent young black men being targeted and railroaded by the criminal justice system. For example, in 1992 police in Oneonta, New York rounded up every black man in sight after hearing reports that a black man had robbed a white woman in her home.  Officers rounded up suspects on the street, on public transportation, and at the State University of New York at Oneonta.  A federal appeals court later ruled that the Oneonta police did not violate the Constitution because the officers were acting on more than merely the color of the alleged perpetrator.

Police had conducted roundups of Boston’s black men in 1989, when Charles Stuart of Boston claimed that a black gunman robbed and shot him and his pregnant wife, killing her.  Black suspects were reportedly strip-searched in public and otherwise disrespected by law enforcement. After Stuart became a suspect amid allegations that he plotted to secure his wife’s insurance money, he committed suicide. And in 1994, Susan Smith of Union, South Carolina reported that a black man carjacked her and kidnapped her two sons, both toddlers.  Smith later confessed to murdering the children.

In 2006, six black teenagers in the town of Jena, Louisiana  were arrested and prosecuted for fighting against nooses dangling under their high school’s “White tree,” while the White students who planted the nooses and committed other acts of violence were given a pass.

Meanwhile, legal experts have studied the Central Park jogger case as an example of the ways in which race is entangled in the criminal justice system. “The Central Park Five case provides three important lessons for criminal and racial justice,” according to David Rudovsky, Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and partner at Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, a public interest law firm in Philadelphia.  Rudovsky is one of the nation’s leading civil rights and criminal defense attorneys.

“First, we should learn to be highly skeptical of charges made early in a high profile criminal investigation.  There is enormous pressure on the police to quickly “solve” the case and often the rules and procedures that should govern the investigation are ignored to justify an early and improper arrest.  In the Central Park Five, there should have been strong suspicions that the ‘confessions’ of the defendants were coerced and not worthy of belief.  As it turns out, in over 20 percent of exonerations, there has been a false or coerced confession,” Rudovsky told theGrio.

“Second, the problem is exacerbated where there is a white victim and minority suspects,” Rudovsky added.  “Again, a rush to judgment is even more likely and racial politics can easily override false charges.  The press and public are all too willing to believe that a young black or Latino man is guilty and should be severely punished on evidence that may not hold up in court.  Whether the evidence for an arrest is a cross-racial identification, confession or an informant, the tendency is to try to make the charges stick, regardless of its inherent weakness or even evidence pointing to others.  Especially today, where good forensics and DNA evidence can reliably show guilt or innocence, investigators should not develop early tunnel vision.”

“Third, we should not demonize the suspects or their lawyers (as happened in the Central Park Five case); ultimately it took dedicated and talented defense lawyers to prove the falsity of the charges and to achieve exonerations,” Rudovsky concluded.

Finally, Charles Barron also thinks the case of the Central Park Five is instructional.  He believes that the case has much to reveal regarding the psychological damage done to African-Americans, in what he sees as a modern-day form of slavery occurring behind prison bars. “The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery except for [imprisonment for] a crime.  We were brought here for our labor and they still want our labor.  We went from the plantation to the penitentiary.  The prison industrial complex is the new plantation. That’s why these men were arrested.  That’s why the city doesn’t want to own up to that.  This is why the Central Park jogger case is the critical case of the twentieth century.”

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FULL REPRINT Source:  http://www.alternet.org/story/14958/coloring_the_central_park_jogger_case

Coloring the Central Park Jogger Case

The media painted young black men as marauding hordes, easy to degrade and dismiss as animals in the public mind.

The crime thundered across the airwaves and onto the newsstands. On April 19, 1989, a young, white investment banker, jogging in Central Park, was bludgeoned, raped and left to die. The police soon charged a marauding group of Harlem teens with gang rape. The tabloid headlines pumped fear into horror. WOLF PACK’S PREY, announced the New York Daily News, in its first of many page-one stories. “Wilding — the newest term for terror in a city that lives in fear,” announced the New York Post on Apr. 22. “Wilding” was defined by the Post writers as a phenomenon not unlike the violent raves in A Clockwork Orange — “packs of bloodthirsty teens from the tenements, bursting with boredom and rage, roam the streets getting kicks from an evening of ultra-violence.”

In his Apr. 23, 1989, piece in the Post, a savage disease, Pete Hamill, the celebrated city columnist, painted a menacing backdrop that would color the coverage to come:

They were coming downtown from a world of crack, welfare, guns, knives, indifference and ignorance. They were coming from a land with no fathers . . . . They were coming from the anarchic province of the poor. And driven by a collective fury, brimming with the rippling energies of youth, their minds teeming with the violent images of the streets and the movies, they had only one goal: to smash, hurt, rob, stomp, rape. The enemies were rich. The enemies were white.

City editors pitched in and drafted a powerful story line on the order of “Heroic Woman vs. Feral Beast.” David Krajicek, who covered the rape as police bureau chief for the Daily News, recalls that reporters were under tremendous pressure to stay true to the top-down narrative. And in the competitive frenzy surrounding the story, that narrative took on a life of its own, ultimately slashing the city into two angry parts — white and black, Wall Street and Harlem, law-abiding adults and barbaric youth. There was little room for nuance. The image of savage kids rampaging through the city’s streets was branded into the national consciousness. The boys, some oversized and awkward, others wiry and defiant, became easy targets to mock, easy to degrade as animals, to dismiss as other people’s children. Almost every member of the white-dominated press accepted without much question that mindless black and Latino adolescents could go from wreaking violent havoc in the park that night to carrying out a vicious gang rape.

“The story was like a centrifuge,” says Jim Dwyer, a New York Newsday columnist at the time, now a reporter for The New York Times. “Everyone was pinned into a position — the press, the police, the prosecution — and no one could press the stop button.” Caught in the dizzying force were five teens, aged fourteen, fifteen and sixteen, who had confessed in some detail to the brutal crime after up to thirty hours of interrogation. Soon after, all five recanted, claiming they were tricked and coerced by the police. But few people listened. No physical evidence linked the boys to the scene. All five were convicted as rapists and sent to prison.

But thirteen years later, as the year 2002 wound down, Manhattan’s district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, was forced to consider whether the criminal justice system had made some kind of mistake.

Which leaves the press to consider its part in the drama.

What re-opened the case and all its old wounds was another confession, this one backed up by DNA tests. Semen found inside the victim and on her sock had always been explained as belonging to a sixth mystery member of the young gang. It turned out to belong to a man named Matias Reyes, a thirty-one-year-old serial rapist. Reyes had a brutal record; he was infamous for gouging out the eyes of his victims.

In prison for a murder and a series of rapes, Reyes confessed in Jan. 2002 to beating and raping the jogger in 1989, all alone. The kids, now young men who have all served their prison sentences, did not know him.

The news sent many in the media into a maelstrom of unresolved questions. Had the press lost its traditional, healthy sense of skepticism in the horror of the moment? How much did an innate mistrust of teenagers, especially groups of black and Latino youths, play into the coverage? Was this case unique, or did it bend future coverage of juveniles?

As it turns out, some journalists and city officials, prompted by the Central Park Jogger case, had been meeting informally and considering such questions for years. The Group, as the informal salon came to be called, met first in the living room of Gerry Migliore, former public affairs director for the city’s department of probation, amid the turmoil swirling around the jogger case. It was an unusual gathering. There were reporters from the four main city papers (including the late New York Newsday), papers usually in heated competition with each other. About a dozen journalists and city government officials talked, raged and even cried as they hashed out personal and professional conflicts. “It got very emotional,” says Anne Murray, police bureau chief for the New York Post at the time, now a private investigator. Murray attended because she was conflicted about how the editors had played the original story. “I knew the coverage would be very different if the victim weren’t white.” The ad hoc group met several times in 1989, then continued sporadically during the next decade, topping out at forty invitation-only guests, and settling into a core of ten.

The Group met once again on Nov. 14, after Reyes’s startling confession, to discuss the implications of the news. “Some were incredulous that they could have missed something,” says Migliore. Some in The Group said they had realized, in retrospect, that they had subconsciously wanted the teens to be guilty — to end the explosive fear, to feel safer. Still others conceded that they had never regarded the suspects as teenagers. (The boys’ ages, in fact, had rarely been a focus in press reports.) “I was really surprised, in reading recent accounts, to learn that the defendants were only fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen at the time,” says Newsday’s Sheryl McCarthy, one of the few African-American journalists who covered the case for the mainstream press. “I’m overwhelmed with sadness that, collectively, they lost more than forty years of their lives for something they apparently didn’t do.”

Looking back at the story, Migliore remains struck by the tremendous pressure on reporters “to follow editors into the abyss.” Yet in 1989 the abyss, in many ways, was New York itself. Crime was climbing to an all-time high of 2,000 homicides a year. In 1986 a group of bat-wielding white men from Howard Beach, in Queens, chased a young black man onto the Belt Parkway, where he was struck by a car and killed. A little over a year later, a Queens cop named Edward Byrne was murdered assassination-style as he guarded a drug-trial witness. The shooters were set to be sentenced as the jogger case was unfolding. In Aug. of 1989, thirty white teens from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, surrounded four black youths who had wandered into their Italian-American neighborhood to buy a used car. One of the boys shot sixteen-year-old Yusef Hawkins dead. Many thought, even expected, that black teens would seek revenge.

At the same time, middle-class white people were slowly moving back to midtown and reclaiming the symbol of the city, Central Park. Fear that ghetto crime could spoil this sanctuary struck a powerful chord, especially among the rich and the elected. Donald Trump, the real-estate magnate, would spend $85,000 on full-page ads calling for the death penalty in the jogger case: “They should be forced to suffer . . . ,” Trump opined. “I want them to be afraid.” Mayor Ed Koch was often quoted calling the arrested boys “monsters” and complaining that juvenile laws were too soft. Pete Hamill, looking back now, remembers a city on edge, maybe over the brink. “Aside from the savagery of the rape and the beating itself, there was a sense that the city was unraveling,” he says. “That young people fueled by crack and rage, and armed with guns, were out of control.”

Steven Drizin, who recently reviewed the confession tapes as supervising attorney at Northwestern University’s Children and Family Justice Center, said the city’s high-pitched lust for prosecution fed by the media exposure made it next to impossible for these boys to get a fair trial. And the reach of the Central Park jogger story, he observes, was long, well beyond its time and place. The case set the stage for the reinstatement of New York’s death penalty. The papers ran demographic stories like the Daily News’s MORE CUBS FOR CITY’S WOLFPACK, warning of growing numbers of bellicose adolescents. Within a few years, influential political scientists like Princeton’s John DiIulio would conclude that “teen superpredators” — savage, godless, urban youth — would take over the city’s streets by the millennium. As a rage against juvenile crime grew, nearly every state passed laws by the mid-nineties allowing children to be tried and jailed as adults. “We ended up with some of the most damaging juvenile laws in our nation’s history,” says Drizin.

What really happened on the night of April 19, 1989? For all the acute attention, the details are still surprisingly murky. We do know that somewhere around 9 p.m., a group of about thirty Harlem teens gathered near the Schomburg Plaza in Harlem for a night of havoc in Central Park. The gang took off, harassing and assaulting joggers and cyclists. After 10 p.m., five teens were collared at 102nd Street and Central Park West, including Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson. Sometime after midnight, the police got word of the brutal rape of the investment banker. The next day, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Kharey Wise were all brought in for questioning. Reporters formed a chaotic scrum outside the precinct as detectives pressed the suspects inside.

Most of the boys had been up for two days when the prosecutor finally turned on the videotape to capture their confessions. And the tapes are chilling to watch. Santana, fourteen, admitted to “grabbing the lady’s tits” as another boy “was smackin’ her; he was sayin’, ‘Shut up, bitch!’” McCray, fifteen, said he simulated sex “so everybody just know I did it.” Kharey Wise, sixteen, considered the most vulnerable because of serious learning disabilities, was the last to confess. “This is my first rape,” he said, “and this is gonna be my last time doin’ it.”

The press saw the confessions and concluded that the boys were guilty beyond a doubt. Juvenile experts watching the tapes now, however, see disturbing inconsistencies. Although the details they provide about the muggings of other victims that night are in harmony, the boys’ descriptions of the rape are conflicting stories. They identify different places, different times for events, and have different descriptions of the crime scene, says Drizin. One suspect keeps changing his story, clearly to please the prosecutor. “First, he said the jogger was punched. Then, with prompting, it was a rock. Then, with prompting, it was a brick,” says Drizin.

The tapes are the end result of a long, unrecorded police interrogation, an ordeal designed to break down a suspect’s will. Kevin Richardson’s mother claimed officers cursed at her son, saying, “You know you fucked her.” Wise complained that he was left alone with a detective who screamed and slapped him and promised he could go home if he confessed. The trial judge dismissed these arguments, allowing the tapes to be presented as evidence.

Without the confessions, the prosecution had no case. None of the boys had a record of violent arrests. None was linked by DNA to semen or to any other evidence found at the bloody scene, a fact that raised eyebrows. “It is often said that teenage boys can’t make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without leaving evidence,” Drizin says. “The victim lost three-quarters of her blood, and there was not a drop on these boys. Not a drop. It’s difficult to fathom.”

The press paid scant attention to holes in the prosecution’s case, riveted, instead, by the horrifying but factually messy tapes. “We had the confessions. They were turning each other in,” remembers Richard Rosen, former city editor of the Daily News. “The feeling was that the suspects had something to do with it.”

Yet toward the end of the first trial, a few reporters were beginning to question the script. When he entered the courtroom in July of 1990, recalls Dwyer, “I remember I had in my head these guys were guilty.” Then the testimony of a detective set off alarms: “I was skeptical because he was saying that the confessions were all in the kids’ voices.” But they were not. The written statement signed by Raymond Santana began: “On April 19, 1989, at approximately 20:30 hours, I was at the Taft Projects in the vicinity of E. 113th & Madison Avenue . . . . We started walking uphill through a path going westbound in the park when we observed a male/female couple.” Dwyer knew enough about kids to know that no fourteen-year-old talked like this.

But all five boys were convicted in State Supreme Court of various combinations of rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, riot and assault. Sixteen-year-old Kevin Richardson was found guilty of the most serious charge of attempted murder, mostly because the jury falsely believed that two hairs found on his clothes were from the jogger. (The prosecution’s expert witness testified that it was impossible to say the hairs were the jogger’s, because the science of hair identification was so inexact in 1989. Still, in her closing arguments, the lead prosecutor, Elizabeth Lederer, said unequivocally that the hairs found on Kevin “matched” with those of the victim.) At his Sept. 1990 sentencing hearing, Yusef Salaam, fifteen, said, “I look upon this legal lynching as a test by my God, Allah.” The Post mocked the boy’s adolescent bravado with the headline: SALAAM BALONEY. But more than a decade later, the teenager looks like a soothsayer: “Sooner or later,” he added at the sentencing hearing, “the truth will come out.”

Once the new evidence came to light, District Attorney Morgenthau was forced to review the case video by video, transcript by transcript. Internal pressure was fierce to maintain the guilty verdicts. Several prosecutors and police detectives whose reputations were launched by the Central Park convictions recently aired competing theories in the press, theories that place the boys squarely at the rape scene. The sex crimes prosecutor Linda Fairstein posited in The New Yorker and the Daily News that either the teens beat and dragged the woman into the woods where Reyes came along and raped her, or Reyes raped the woman first, leaving her bludgeoned body for the boys to further assault.

On Dec. 5, Morgenthau argued in State Supreme Court that all the verdicts should be set aside, based on the new confession, the new DNA evidence, and “troubling discrepancies” in the videotaped confessions. On Dec. 19, the court agreed, leaving the door open for the defendants to launch a civil suit for their years lost behind bars.

If a crime like the rape of the Central Park jogger occurred today, would the coverage be different? Former News editor Rosen, now the New York editor at Bloomberg News, believes it would. “There would be more skepticism about police procedures,” he says. “We know more about DNA evidence, about false confessions, about juvenile issues. And New York is a different place.”

That may be so. In any event, there are journalistic lessons from the Central Park jogger case on a number of subjects:

False Confessions In 1989 reporters did not readily consider the possibility of false confessions. Why would anyone confess in such detail, in front of their parents no less, to a crime they did not commit? Yet experts say this bizarre phenomenon is as old as the Salem witch trials. An odd logic takes hold when someone is cornered and believes that shooting himself in the foot is the best escape.

Police questioning is designed to be intimidating. It represents the force of the law bearing down with all its power. Deception and trickery are standard, and legal. The interrogator will claim a friend has already implicated the suspect, for example, or cite nonexistent evidence. Juveniles, meanwhile, are considered most susceptible to changing their stories to appease their questioners. “A good cop,” says the former Daily News bureau chief Krajicek, “can get a fifteen-year-old to say basically anything he wants.”

Unprotective Parents  Most of the Harlem boys were accompanied by parents, so many reporters believed coercion was a moot point. Not so, say juvenile crime experts. Often parents are just as intimidated and uninformed about risks their kids face as the juveniles, according to Monica Drinane, attorney-in-charge at New York City’s Legal Aid Society. Contrary to expectations, parents rarely stop interrogations and ask for a lawyer.

Sometimes parents unwittingly add the weight of their own authority to that of the police. Antron McCray’s father says he threw a chair across the room because his son kept insisting he was innocent. “I said to Antron, ‘Tell them what they want to hear,’” he told the New York Post, “‘otherwise you’re not going home.’” That’s when the fifteen-year-old confessed to holding the jogger’s arms while others raped her.

Racial Code Words  The jogger case planted “wilding” into the English lexicon, a term that came to define the inhumanity of these kids. But it was never clear where it came from — the kids, the police, or the media ozone. “The word seemed to come out of the ether,” remembers Krajicek, a former professor at Columbia’s journalism school and author of Scooped: Media Miss Real Stories on Crime while Chasing Sex, Sleaze and Celebrities. “It took on a life of its own.”

Meanwhile, at the same time the first Central Park jogger trial was going on, thirty white teens in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, cornered sixteen-year-old Yusef Hawkins near a used-car lot and shot him dead. New York Newsday referred to those arrested as “white young men.” The Daily News called them “a gang of thirty white teens.” The city’s leaders were equally subdued. Mayor Koch painted the killing as “an enormous tragedy.”

Stubborn Stereotypes  The New York Times and New York Newsday each wrote profile pieces in the wake of the arrests. The results defied Hamill’s predictions. Instead of street thugs, reporters found that most of these kids attended decent schools and lived in stable homes with two working parents. Sheryl McCarthy and Nina Bernstein of New York Newsday wrote that Salaam attended Catholic school and was described as “not aggressive, very easy-going,” by his math tutor. Santana’s schoolmates at his alternative program said he was “his own person, a straight-up guy” who liked to draw. Antron McCray’s father was a mechanic, his mother a day-care worker. His Little League sponsor said he was a “very shy, very respectable kid.”

But oddly enough, the details of these kids’ nonviolent existences did little to derail conventional wisdom. Those who believed the boys were rapists saw these details as horrifying. Instead of casting doubt on their guilt, it made them seem even more evil. They had no excuses. No crack-addicted mothers. No blackboard jungle high schools.

The more common treatment was to disparage the suspects. In a Daily News column, Bob Herbert, one of the few black reporters covering the case, made fun of both the boys’ appearance and their lack of cash during the first trial. Herbert, now a columnist for the Times, caricatured them as “teenage mutants.” He described sixteen-year-old McCray as a “wimpish pipsqueak” in June of 1990. He pointed out that Salaam wore two pistachio-colored socks and Santana, by then fifteen, apparently could afford neither bail nor a sports jacket. In his Dec. 9, 2002, New York Times column, Herbert called the original jogger case coverage “racist” and “way, way over the top.” He cast blame on the authorities, on the violent climate and on a “dopey defense strategy,” yet did not detail his personal contribution as a compliant reporter.

Journalism remains a subjective craft. Editors may be more skeptical of authority today, but they do not all believe the Harlem boys were railroaded by a frenzied press and a zealous prosecution. The Daily News, which first published the Matias Reyes confession, followed its own scoop with a series of stories that played down its importance. One piece quoted anonymous medical examiners as saying the injuries to the jogger were far too extensive for one man to have acted alone. Another quoted one of the detectives defending the investigation, claiming that cops working in separate groups could not have pulled off multiple false confessions. “It’s clear to me that for the most part the police bent over backwards to insure they followed proper juvenile procedures,” says Barbara Ross, who covers Manhattan criminal court for the Daily News. Ross was poring through 4,600 pages of the pre-trial hearings, preparing a story as Morgenthau was deciding whether to set aside the convictions. “It’s hard to believe these confessions are not real,” she says.

Jim Dwyer at the Times was coming to a different conclusion by reading 15,000 pages of the same documents. He broke the story on Oct. 5 that Reyes had raped a woman two days earlier in the same area of the park, a case that had gone unreported to the defense in 1989. He also reported that the Harlem boys had consistently maintained their innocence in jail even though it cost them earlier parole chances. (Parole boards are lenient to convicts who show remorse.) His coverage helped shape an Oct. 16 Times editorial that argued: “The hysteria that surrounded the case may have contributed to a grave injustice.”

Both Ross and Dwyer would agree that the media can no longer ignore the importance of understanding juveniles and the policies that govern them in this changing world. More children are standing trial in adult courtrooms now than at any time in our nation’s history. This requires a vigilant press to report from behind the interrogation doors, to inform beyond the shrill screams for revenge. Because the wolf pack, now as in 1989, can be the media.

LynNell Hancock, a former reporter for The Village Voice, the Daily News, and Newsweek, teaches journalism at Columbia. She is the author of Hands to Work: the Stories of Three Families Racing the Welfare Clock, out in paperback this month.

*******************************

Central Park Revisited Dated: May 17, 2011

Thirteen years ago, the Central Park jogger case gave callous new faces to New York’s social breakdown and began to usher in the Giuliani era. Now a new confession has reopened old racial scars and raised questions about how police do their work.     By Chris Smith

He wiped her blood off his hands and went home. Left behind, in a shallow ravine near Central Park’s 102nd Street transverse, was the brutalized body of a 28-year-old woman. Matias Reyes says he had raped and beaten her so viciously that he assumed she would die. The curly-haired 17-year-old boy calmly strolled north, into the night.Thirteen years later, Reyes returns to the scene of the crime. This time he is in handcuffs, after a six-hour drive from the cell in a state prison near the Canadian border where he’s serving 331⁄3 to life after pleading guilty, in 1991, to four rapes and the murder of a pregnant woman. For this visit to the 102nd Street transverse, on a spring day in 2002, Reyes is accompanied by investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office. They want to test the claim that Reyes waited until this year to make: that on the night of April 19, 1989, he and he alone attacked the woman who became known around the world as the Central Park jogger.

His first appearance at this spot triggered events that nearly consumed the city. Now the return of Matias Reyes is roiling dozens of lives all over again.

Five teenagers were convicted of the attack on the Central Park jogger, in two stormy trials. All pleaded not guilty and claimed that their videotaped confessions were concocted by the cops. Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, and Kharey Wise served sentences ranging from five to thirteen years. Wise got out of prison August 12 — just months after the only DNA collected at the crime scene, which was never tied to any of the accused, was matched to Reyes.

In August, lawyers for the five petitioned to have the convictions dismissed, saying that new evidence — Reyes’s confession and his DNA — had surfaced that could have substantially altered the original verdicts. The D.A.’s office has been reinvestigating the Central Park case for nine months — but on October 21, Robert Morgenthau’s office will be back in State Supreme Court asking for a 30-day extension. Reyes has now been linked to eight rapes in a seven-month period, including one in Central Park on April 17, two days before the infamous jogger attack.

No matter what Judge Charles Tejada ultimately decides, the case has already had multiple, dramatic consequences: most tragically for the jogger, who nearly died. After years of rehabilitation, she still suffers from impaired vision and sketchy balance. Her emotional trauma is unquantifiable. And five anguished families watched their sons disappear into prison.

The case also changed the city itself. Bigger trends — the crack plague, the economic bust and then boom — played dominant roles in the story of the nineties. But the symbolism of the Central Park case altered everything from two mayoral elections to the reaction when a knot of teenage boys appeared on a dimly-lit sidewalk.

Now the case returns, uncannily, as anxieties about crime, civil rights, and the economy revive — and as part of a revolution sweeping the criminal-justice system, courtesy of DNA testing and a new concern about false confessions.

New York in the spring of 1989 was a city of jangling nerves and rising fears. Crack was blighting whole families and neighborhoods. Violent-crime rates were rising for the third straight year, and homicides would set a record. On Wall Street, the mergers-and-acquisitions bubble was giving way to corporate scandals. A new buzzword, underclass, was emerging as the label for the seemingly intractable urban pathology spawned by poverty.

Race relations framed many of the media’s big stories. The Reverend Al Sharpton was still loudly proclaiming that Tawana Brawley told the truth. Three white men convicted of chasing a 23-year-old black man, Michael Griffith, to his death on the Belt Parkway were beginning a contentious appeal.

And 1989 was a mayoral-election year. Ed Koch’s shrillness was a central issue in a tight Democratic-primary campaign. His strongest rival, Manhattan borough president David Dinkins, was, not coincidentally, a black man with an anodyne personality. Racial tensions worsened in August, when 16-year-old Yusef Hawkins, a black kid lost in Bensonhurst, was attacked by racist white thugs, shot, and killed.

Beneath these volatile events churned the Central Park jogger case. The victim was white and middle-class and female, a promising young investment banker at Salomon Brothers with a Wellesley–Yale–Phi Beta Kappa pedigree. The suspects were black and Latino and male and much younger, some with dubious school records, some from fractured homes, all from Harlem. That the crime took place in Central Park, mythologized as the city’s verdant, democratic refuge, played right into the theme of middle-class violation.

Almost from the moment the jogger was found, the Central Park case has existed as a vehicle for clashing worldviews: that held by the older, white, traditional-family-structure New York and that of the newer, nonwhite, poorer, marginalized New York. The furious reaction to the arrests and the trials illustrated how stark that cultural divide had become. And though the current legal breakthrough in the jogger case comes from the advent of cold, scientific DNA testing, the war for perceptions remains trapped in opposing views of the police: faith or mistrust.

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Mrs.Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers’ Union! GU 5 Star Award Winner for Ethics and Character

Generate Unity Salutes Mrs. Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers' Union

CAUCUS OF RANK AND FILE EDUCATORS (CORE)

Woman Of Character & Integrity

Teacher Activist Turned Power House In Leadership

Generate Unity Awards 5 Stars to Mrs. Karen Lewis,

President of Chicago Teachers’ Union

Click on each of her pictures to hear Mrs. Karen Lewis Yourself

Mrs. Karen Lewis was raised in Chicago by Parents who were teachers themselves.  She was the first Black Women in 1974 to graduate at Dartmouth College.  She has 2 Masters, as well as, being Board Certified.  She says “I am an Affirmative Action Baby.”

Karen’ Lewis’ parents motto to her were, “You have to work twice as hard to get half as much.”  Consequently, she always committed herself to excellence.  In 2008, the now Vice President of Chicago Teachers’ Union,  Jesse Sharkey, was 1 of the 8 original Caucus of  “Committee Of Rank And File Educators (“CORE”) which began with 8 interested educator, they began by researching.  Their first step was reading the “Shock Doctrine, by Naomi Klein.”  She learned that it must be a step by step method to change the paradyme.  While reading the “Shock Doctrine” she learned the historical facts of how the Elite Ruling Class has decided that Public Institutions have to go because they are in the way of profit!  That a plan known at Renaissance 2010 was a Real Estate plan and the people of the communities targeted were in the way.

President Karen Lewis speaks to 18,000 supporters on Labor Day

Karen Lewis, President, Making Facts Clear On How To Win~

About CORE:  How it began:

“The Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) is a group of dedicated teachers, retirees, Paraprofessional School Related Personnel (PSRPs), parents, community members and other champions of public education. We fight for equitable public education and hope to improve the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) so that it fights both on behalf of its members and on behalf of Chicago’s students.”

CORE knew this Real Estate Plan lays underneath the Privatization of Public Institutions, in this arena, Education.  Public School to Charter School debate.  She expects all Teacher Activist, Parents & Interested community members read to read Shock Doctrine so that you informed to this move by the Elite to turn Public Institutions into Private money-making entities.

They began to look at paradymes:

Three Point  commitments  Of Mutual Understanding  & Agreement

1. Teaching & Learning is the most important thing to do! 

2. Educators who understand what the Agenda is to destroy it! 

3. Educators who value Our Children!

She grew from a Chemistry Teacher with excellent credentials; who loved teaching;  who was never in danger of being laid off.   The school she taught in for 22 years was a Specialized School, and Karen Lewis admits during that time she concentrated only on her children in her classroom and not those things happening outside of her classroom.  When she was close to retiring, she received a call but her feelings were:

•  I’m done
•  The Union sucks
•  The Union don’t want to do anything

She is also a self-confessed “nerd” and her friends coaxed her to join their  Book Study Group of 8  Educators at Pilsen Alliance a Mexican-American Community Organization.  The book they came together to read was the, The Shock Doctrine.  Thus, learning of the political and class strategy of the Ruling Elite.  CORE also studied “Renaissance 2010.”  With these tools under their belt they delved into the geopolitical nature of Chicago!

Karen Lewis and CORE moved to a collaborative model.  She was then moved from Teacher –  to retired Teacher  – to Union Organizing –  today,  President of Chicago’s Teachers Union!

As a Teacher Activist Mrs Karen Lewis  put her skills and her committment for Children to work!  Working in the community to did discern ” it was easier at the beginning to be in  “Oppositional / Adversarial role” against the Ruling Elite of Chicago, they made a committment to do more!

Opposition to the Ruling Elite Place them in an Adversarial Role.  That’s the easy part, Mrs. Karen Lewis says!

Chicago School Board Members:

CORE moved to learn from people like Jinny Sims from Vancouver.  Jinny Sims organized an Illegal Teachers Strike with British Columbia Teachers’ Union.  She came down to speak with the group of 35 that had grown out of the original 8 Educators.  She told them you have to get to the people.  And this is what CORE did!

The hard job came after we won the election.  It is easy to be oppositional.  She stressed this point to prepare yourself to make a change.  It is easy to critique, Karen Lewis points out.  She explains further it is not easy to change the paradigm.  What are the different relationship models?  How will CORE move from adversarial to leadership?

CORE worked diligently  for 18 months to Empowered Teachers to Empowered Parents to Empower Children.  To educated themselves on the reality of the terrain they were fighting. They agreed to the principles and ethics of teaching, and the absolute value of our  Children and the imperative to keep Public Schools and to know the politics behind the move to privatize all public institutions for profit.

Upon CORE’s election and thus winning the Chicago Teachers’ Union the first thing that happened was to reorganize the Union and its practice.  They gave up the PERKS took that money and created 2 necessary Departments inside the Union,  1. Research and 2. Organizing Departments.

CORE was inside the community working with religious organizations, community organizations, parents, their memberships are diverse.  However, there were these three commitments that is CORE insists on.             1. Teaching & Learning is the most important thing to do!   2.  Educators who understand what the Agenda is to destroy it!  3. Educators who value Our Children!

Karen Lewis is our 5 Star Award Woman of Ethics & Character!   By her example, we learn how to empower ourselves, our neighborhoods, our schools, thus our children.  She is dedicated to putting “Joy back into the classroom! Fighting for the future of our children & their education!

Thank you CORE, the Parents of Chicago, the  Teachers of Chicago and  Mrs. Karen Lewis for her present day example.  Click below link:

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis:

Deal Ending Strike a Victory for Education

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Spiritual Brother Jeff Veasy – www.openroadfitness.com

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Indigeneous People

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Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

September 11th, 2001 I was eyewitness to the destruction of the World Trade Center.  On this land there exist a history seldom mentioned.   What are the sentiments of those Indigenous People.  Generate Unity turned to “First Voices Indigenous Radio.”  Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Host, on WBAI.Org his weekly program

An peep of this historical timelines bears its remnants of those Captives of the Translantic Slave Trade on Duane Street.   The African Burial Ground.

This Blog will create a portal to  First Voices Indigenous Radio, with Tiokasin Ghosthost in his word:

Web Site: http://www.firstvoicesindigenousradio.org

Reprint Source:  Tiokasin Ghosthorse
First Voices Indigenous Radio brings to the airwaves the experiences, perspectives and struggles of Indigenous people who have been almost totally excluded from both mainstream and progressive, alternative media.

Our purpose is to help ensure the continuance and survival of Indigenous cultures and Nations by letting the People tell their own story, in their own words, and often in their own languages and ways of speaking. And with as little outside interference and interruption as possible.

As we open up the airwaves week after week to the voices seldom heard in the last 519 years, it is our hope that the newcomers to this Land – that is, every immigrant group – will begin to question their assumptions about Indigenous people here. We hope they become educated and informed, get activated, break down their romanticization, break free of their stereotypes, and begin to form real relationships with Indigenous communities based, finally, on respect and real understanding.

This hour is devoted to bringing the voices of the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island (i.e., North America) and connecting their struggles with those of other Indigenous Peoples around the world. And while never forgetting that standing upon Mother Earth is a great responsibility.

We ask our guests with great respect to do the honor of coming on the program to offer their knowledge, wisdom, and experience, a knowledge that has been handed down over hundreds of thousands of years. It is a responsibility we take very seriously, and we know it is with great urgency that we ask these voices to be shared in this time of changes. We hope we offer our listeners a perspective they have been missing for far too long. The voice America has tried to silence, the voices of Indigenous Peoples.

Tiokasin Ghosthorse knows that First Voices Indigenous Radio belongs to all the Native Peoples here in Turtle Island (renamed North America by the occupiers). The responsibilities that can be taught by listening to the real land owners(so to speak) and understanding the knowledge, the wisdom, the struggles, and the unheard voices .

It is said that if the lies continue about Native peoples it will create an illusion that all Americans will dearly pay for in the future…and the future is now. What kind of world are Americans creating with their privilege of denying Native people’s voice and the reality of truth that Natives experience daily.

Tiokasin’s global perspective reality is the experience of living with and understanding these two worlds – Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Tiokasin Ghosthorse is host and producer of First Voices Indigenous Radio.

He spoke, as a teenager, at the United Nations Conference on Human Rights International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He participated in several occupations including Wounded Knee, SD in 1973, Lyle Point, WA, Western Shoshone, NV, and Big Mountain, AZ, and has been actively educating people who live on Turtle Island (N. America) and overseas since that time.

Tiokasin is also a survivor of the “Reign of Terror” from 1972-1976 on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding and Church Missionary School systems designed to “kill the Indian and save the man”.

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Faery Land – The Light We Can See Everyday

We Find Light Everywhere We Be

Creativity wells forth everyday! We participate in it and know other’s that do so much to bring forth their creations.

Generate Unity

Objective:  To explore the various emanations of creativity  folks utilize to create the lives they want to live, sometimes having to  rebalance themselves in a changing environment.  

We will explore those who we meet and who meet up with us.  Those entrepeneurs, social activist, artist and creative individuals who are Generating Unity through their activities.

2012 is a time when all kinds of visions have been put forth over the last 20th Century.  Generate Unity in the 21st Century is gearing ourselves to those high emanations of Spirit that are evolving themselves through people with conscious ethics as it shows in their projects.

This world today 2012 is a far different world than expected.  Disappointment had to be an energy that has been confronted since this world today is not the world envisioned ….  Tenancity – to me is ‘Dare To Dream Dare To Create.’  We know we have to dream and work together to make this place we live better.  Each of our stories will enliven this discourse where we find our similarities, thus Generate Unity.

We Are The Many Emanations  In the Circle of Life.  360 degress  and each degree contact several components, making us all very complex Beings.   We would like to create a community exhibiting this variety!  Bringing forth issues and ideas that may have been blind to us, yet there existed a desire or curiosity to know more!

Things to think about:

Click on to look over this book by Gopi Krishna  Cosmic Consciousness  – this is a pdf file that contains the book

Source: Adepts, Masters and Mahatmas, by Robert M Barber in Spirituality – Blogtalkradio with Mr. Richart M. Barber discussing consciousness.

Deborah Jones-Brown, Founder,  Generate Unity, Social Activism 2012

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