The Central Park Five, a group of five men who were teenagers in 1989 and who were falsely accused of mugging and raping a woman in New York City, will not get an apology from the president of the United States.
President Donald Trump, who in the late 1980s and early 1990s was a business mogul (and not yet a politician), had called for the death penalty to be reinstated in New York so that the teenagers (two 14-year-olds, two 15 year-olds, and a 16-year-old) could be punished in such a way after being convicted.
Asked by AURN White House Correspondent April Ryan about the Central Park Five, whose story is back in the news due to the popularity of the Netflix miniseries “When They See Us” which details their ordeal, Trump seemed incredulous at the question, apparently unaware of why it should come about at all.
“Why do you bring that question up now? It’s an interesting time to bring it up,” Trump said, per reporting from Mediaite.
Trump explained that he would not apologize for the remarks he’s made in the past about the five men.
Trump, asked by @AprilDRyan if he would apologize for his remarks on the Central Park Five, does not apologize and adds: "You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt."
Via Fox pic.twitter.com/sXXFGtnEMU
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 18, 2019
“You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt,” Trump said of the five men.
Documentarian Ken Burns, who has produced his own movie about the Central Park Five, explained in an interview that the five men, who were teenagers at the time, were coerced into giving statements where each of the boys admitted to being at the scene of the crime by police officers interrogating them under harsh conditions. All five were told they could go home if they simply admitted they were there, and that they witnessed the other boys taking part in the rape, Burns said.
“Nowhere along the line did anyone in a position of power, the media that ran with this” act appropriately and look at the facts, Burns said.
As reporting from Quartz detailed, the five teens had no actual connection to the scene of the crime, other than being in a different part of Central Park the evening that it occurred. There was no physical evidence that placed them there, and DNA evidence that was collected off of the victim’s body did not match any of the boys.
More than a decade after their conviction, Matias Reyes, a criminal who was behind bars on other charges, admitted to the mugging and rape of the woman. The Central Park Five were released upon his admission and court order in 2002.
Yet Trump still refuses to accept this turn of events. In 2016, during the presidential campaign, he also stated he still believed in the five men’s guilt.
“They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty,” Trump said in an interview, per reporting from CNN. “The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.