In response to questions surrounding an ad Donald Trump ran in the New York Daily News in 1989 calling for New York to “bring back the death penalty” with regard to the now-completely-exonerated “Central Park Five,” the GOP presidential nominee appeared reluctant to concede the seeming preponderance of evidence, including DNA and a confession by the actual perpetrator, clearing the five black and Latino youths.
“They admitted they were guilty,” Trump’s recent Central Park Five statement was quoted by CNN. “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. 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.”
The original Trump Central Park Five ad called on politicians to “unshackle” police from a “constant chant of ‘police brutality,'” the domain of the “petty criminal.”
In 1989, Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old Salomon Brothers investment banker, was found, barely alive, stripped of most of her clothing, after having been brutally raped and beaten in New York’s Central Park. Though the traumatized woman survived, her injuries were so severe that she had no recollection of any information able to identify a suspect.
Outrage quickly grew among New Yorkers. It would seem reasonable, given the massive amount of media coverage the case had received, to state that authorities may have felt pressure to quickly capture suspects and have them found guilty.
Vox reports that Yusef Salaam, a member of the group, is still seeking an apology from Donald Trump. Salaam has previously described the Donald Trump Central Park Five ad as being the “fire starter” that swayed the opinion of average New Yorkers against the teens, who subsequently spent years of their lives in prison.
“Common citizens were being manipulated and swayed into believing that we were guilty,” Salaam was quoted by the Guardian.
Similarities could conceivably be drawn with the interrogation techniques reportedly used on the Central Park Five and those used on Brendan Dassey, who has achieved notoriety as a result of the Making A Murderer television series, as reported by WEAU. In each case, youths at a great disadvantage to investigators were interrogated in questionable circumstances.
A completely unrelated suspect has since confessed to the vicious attack on Trisha Meili and been connected to her with DNA.
Despite this, Donald Trump has consistently appeared unmoved.
In 2014, the New York Daily News ran a Trump Central Park Five opinion piece that called the $41 million settlement they received a “disgrace.”
Trump’s statement that “Settling doesn’t mean innocence, but it indicates incompetence on several levels.” is almost baffling in the face of the DNA evidence and confession obtained in 2002, a full 12 years earlier.
“They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence,” the 1989 Trump ad about the innocent teens reads. “I want to hate these murders and I always will.”
The Central Park Five consisted of Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, and Korey Wise, who were each 16 and under at the time of the incident. Their now-known-to-be-bogus confessions were obtained using techniques reported to have included making the boys listen to others being beaten by police officers in the next room and then being told that if they didn’t confess “you realise you’re next.”
The “Central Park Five” ad was reported to cost Donald Trump $85,000.
Maya Harris, a senior Hillary Clinton advisor, was quoted by Breitbart that Trump’s Central Park Five comments were “yet another racist lie” and that they demonstrate that the real estate mogul is “unfit” to serve as U.S. commander-in-chief.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]