Wrongly Convicted Central Park 5 to Get $40M

NYC settlement adds up to $1 million per year in jail
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2014 3:16 AM CDT
Wrongly Convicted Central Park 5 to Get $40M
Three of the Central Park Five are seen during a rally in Foley Square in New York on the day of a court hearing last year.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

Five New York City men wrongly convicted in their teens for the rape and beating of a jogger in Central Park are to receive around $1 million per year of imprisonment. The black and Hispanic "Central Park Five"—who were aged 14 to 16 when they were caught up in the racially charged 1989 case—have agreed to a $40 million settlement in a long-running civil rights lawsuit, reports the New York Times. Their convictions were overturned in 2002 when a convicted rapist and murderer confessed to the attack and DNA evidence supported his claim. Four of the five exonerated men spent around seven years in prison each, while a fifth spent 13 years behind bars and is set to get the biggest wrongful-conviction payout in the city's history.

The savage attack on the 28-year-old jogger came amid reports of "wolfpacks" of teens "wilding" in the park, and after the teens were arrested, Donald Trump took out newspaper ads calling for the return of the death penalty, the New York Daily News reports. "We took a lot of abuse," says the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was heavily criticized for standing by the five at the time. "The toll on these men and their supporters was terrible. I want to know we have things in place so that this doesn't happen again," he says. "I'm happy for them, but you know … money doesn't give them those years back. It doesn't give them their youth back." With the settlement, Mayor Bill de Blasio has made good on a campaign promise to finally put the issue to rest if elected. (More Central Park stories.)

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