Twenty-five years ago, Trisha Meili—“the Central Park jogger”—was a 28 year-old employee for a prestigious Manhattan investment banker when she was mercilessly beaten, raped, and left for dead by thugs.
Meili lost approximately 80 percent of her blood. Her skull was fractured to the point that her one eye had popped out of its socket. On the scale of 3 to 15 that neurologists use to gauge brain functioning, Meili’s was assigned a rating of 4. She spent nearly the next two weeks in a coma, with experts expecting her to die.
This crime became a racially explosive issue, for Meili was white and her assailants were not: Of the 30 or so minority youths that had been randomly terrorizing park dwellers, four blacks and one Hispanic confessed to having engaged in the attack on Meili. Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise, and Yusef Salaam were arrested, tried, convicted, and issued prison sentences.
But in 2002, long after “the Central Park Five,” as documentarian and apologist for the convicts, Ken Burns has dubbed them, had done their time, and long after the statute of limitations on the 13 year-old crime had expired, convicted serial rapist and murderer, Matias Reyes, who was already serving a life term, confessed to being Meili’s lone assailant. DNA testing confirmed that it was Matias’ semen—and his alone—that was found on Meili’s body and around the scene of the crime.
Shortly afterwards, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau prevailed upon his state’s Supreme Court to “vacate” the convictions of “the Central Park Five.” Not unsurprisingly, the latter sued the City of New York for wrongful imprisonment to the tune of $250 million.
In June, courtesy of the ever illustrious Mayor DiBlasio, “the Central Park Five” discovered that they would receive $40 million.
Not since the O.J. Simpson acquittal have we witnessed this gross a travesty of justice. Yet it’s also a travesty of intelligence, for only a fool—or perhaps a liar—could think that “the Central Park Five” were innocent of anything, much less the attack on Trisha Meili.
For starters, no one has ever disputed that the Harlem thugs had been in Central Park that fateful evening for the sole purpose of assaulting and mugging innocents (one of whom had been bludgeoned with a pipe). As is the wont of cowards, “the Five” set upon only those who they outnumbered, those who were weaker and more vulnerable. This they confessed from the moment they were in police custody.
To the present day, they have never retracted this confession.
Yet “the Five” also proceeded immediately to implicate themselves in the assault on Meili. On multiple occasions, while alone with the police as well as when they were accompanied by their adult relatives, they left no doubts about their role in this act of barbarism:
Antron McCray: “We charged her. We got her on the ground. Everybody started hitting her and stuff. She was on the ground. Everybody stompin’ and everything. Then we got, each—I grabbed one arm, some other kid grabbed one arm, and we grabbed her legs and stuff. Then we all took turns getting on her, getting on top of her.”
Kevin Richardson: “Raymond [Santana] had her arms, and Steve [Lopez] had her legs. He spread it out. And Antron [McCray] got on top, took her panties off.”
Raymond Santana: “He was smackin’ her, he was sayin’, ‘Shut up, bitch!’ Just smackin’ her…I was grabbin’ the lady’s tits.”
Kharey Wise: “This was my first rape.”
Ann Coulter reminds us that Melody Jackson, whose brother was friends with Wise, testified that the latter told her by phone while he was incarcerated at Riker’s Island that even though he didn’t’ actually rape Meili, he did restrain the victim’s legs while Kevin Richardson “fucked her.”
Jackson, incidentally, informed the police of this exchange only because she thought that it would help Wise’s case.
Coulter also notes that one of the youths apprehended by police shortly after the attack against Meili insisted—prior to being questioned—that he knew “who did the murder.” This is proof that, at the very least, the pummeling that Meili endured was witnessed by multiple people and that its severity was such that it was assumed that it was fatal.
Meili was left for dead.
But there is more.
This same punk—again, mind you, without even being asked about the attack, much less a murder—fingered none other than Antron McCray as “the murderer.”
Multiple videotaped confessions of “the Five”; the presence of semen, blood, and hair on all of the suspects; a scratch on Kevin Richardson’s neck that, in the company of his father, he admitted he received by Meili; and several witness accounts confirmed for the police that the vermin who Ken Burns would years later make into martyrs were as guilty as sin itself of initiating and facilitating an attack against Trisha Meili that nearly cost the poor woman her life.
Matias Reyes semen was the only attacker’s DNA found on Meili or at the crime scene. However, neither this nor the word of this serial rapist and murderer that he acted alone goes any distance whatsoever toward proving the innocence of “the Central Park Five.”
Police have been prevented by the District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau, who recommended that the convictions of “the Five” be vacated, from interrogating Reyes.
Linda Fairstein, the original prosecutor in this case, expressed her certainty that “the Central Park Five” are guilty. Reyes, she believes, merely finished what they had started. As for this notion that the NYPD “coerced” false confessions from the suspects, Mike Sheehan, one of the central detectives who investigated the crime, and who, in his own words, had spent decades taking “over 1,000 confessions, in 3,000 homicides,” has nothing but contempt. “All of this stuff about coercion really pisses me off,” Sheehan has said. “Do you honestly think that we—detectives with more than 20 years in, family men with pensions—would risk all of that so we could put words in the mouth of a 15 year-old kid? Absolutely not.”
Even Morgenthau concedes that no police misconduct—like coercing the teens into admitting to a crime in which they had zero involvement—ever occurred.
Now “the Central Park Five” is $40 million richer.
But the taxpayers of New York City—including the victims of the “wilding” rampage visited upon Central Park 25 years ago—have suffered a loss far greater than this.
For that matter, the fortune of “the Central Park Five” is the misfortune of all decent people.