On the night of April 19, 1989, 28 year Trisha Meili was jogging in central park, New york when she was beaten and raped. Five african american and latino teens were guilty of committing rape. fifteen year old Yusef Salaam, sixteen year old Korey wise, fourteen year old Kevin Richardson, fifteen year old Antron MCcray, and fourteen year old Raymond Santana were the victims of this crime. Yet they were not the ones who committed the crime but they were blamed of doing it. But why were these five young men convicted of this cruel crime? The central park five were the victims of this crime because they were in the park when the rape was going on but also they were african american and latino teenagers who were the first thought to come to mind by the police.
This seemed to be a big problem in New York during those times and past years before this incident. New york was filled with crimes against African Americans with white people committing them. three white men attacking a black male, a man shooting an African American male in the subway saying if he had more bullets, he would have shot him more, and a woman being shot in her home by police who were trying to evict her. A reporter in the documentary says,“A city with violence out of control”. This was all going on when violence was high in New York due to drugs and crimes. “Murders in New York City are occurring at a rate almost identical to that of last year, when a record 1,896 were reported, according to Police Department statistics.” says Bruce Lambert in a published article by the New York Times in 1989. He also says, “For June, the most recent comparison available, 164 homicides were reported, five more than in June 1988. Drug-related murders were down, from 37 percent of all homicides in the first half of last year, to about 30 percent in the first half of this year. As the case went on, more information was found out about the rape and why the five teenagers were involved.
The five teens and twentyfive other teenagers entered the park that night together. Some of the teens were acting crazy and acting as if they had lost their minds. Some messing with bikers while they were riding past, and beating up a homeless man then smashing a beer bottle on his head. Then the police came. Everyone left. Korey was one of the people who fled when the police showed up. But, the other four stayed. They stayed to look for some of the people they knew from the neighborhood who went to Central Park that night. As they were trying to find others and go home, they saw a man tackle another man then throw him inside of the bushes and start beating him then they heard someone yelling police. They witnessed this from a distance. Could this have been the the jogger? Or could this have been a fight between two men that they watched while hearing the jogger screaming police as she was being raped?
Antron left the group to go home around nine and ten O’clock because he had a curfew while the others were in the subway and walking home. Raymond remembered a car stopping right in front of him and two officers grabbing him. Kevin was walking home and spotted the police then running away from them not knowing what to do. He was then tackled to the ground and hit in the face by the police officer with his helmet. As the police officer was handcuffing kevin, he remembers the officer saying,” what’s going on? Didn’t I tell you not to run you animal”? Why would a police officer say something like that to a teenager? Why does he have to be an animal because he is dark skinned. A police officer should never say something like that to a person regardless of what skin color they are. The police officer’s job is to serve and protect. How are you serving and protecting people by call them names like animals because of their skin color. What did the the police officer mean when he said “animal” to kevin? The first thing that comes to my mind is that the police officer is calling kevin a slave running away from a plantation or running for freedom. If that is what the officer meant by “animal”, then that is another reason for racist comments towards someone else of a different race. African americans are not animals, they are humans just like any other person on this earth. Just because there are people who have a different skin color than yours does not give you any kind of right to call someone anything other than a human. Yes kevin ran away from you but it was because he was scared. Kevin was only a teenager let alone fourteen at the time. If you were fourteen and the cops were after you and you didn’t know why, you would run. That is a dumb thing to do but, that was the first thing that came to his mind.
All five boys were treated unfairly and wrong because of their backgrounds through the whole case. The detective pulled Raymond’s grandmother outside to talk to and said that he was the scumbag who did the crime to his grandmother. The detectives threatening the boys tell them people in jail don’t like people who raped woman but the boys are still unsure about what woman they are talking about and telling them they were not the ones who raped any woman that night. Raymond being yelled at by two guys. One in his face with a cigarette blowing in his face and one yelling in his ear telling him that “he fucking did it and he was the one who stuck his dick in her”. After many hours of stress, yelling, and assumptions made, they all gave up. They all wrote on a piece of paper saying how it went down using all of their names and blaming one another of doing a certain thing to the woman.They all knew they didn’t do anything but they still lied about taking part in committing the crime. In 1990, four of the five were given a sentence of five to ten years in a juvenile correctional facility but one person was given five to fifteen years.