Cental Park jogger case
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Sep 28 07:57:54 MDT 2002
In 1989 a group of Harlem youths were charged with the crime of beating
and raping a female jogger in Central Park. Two were found guilty,
although in subsequent years they claimed that their confessions were
coerced. This incident galvanized public opinion worldwide that NYC was
under siege from the jungles of Harlem and other ghetto neighborhoods.
Mayor Dinkins, an African-America, was accused of being too lenient with
criminals in general and with blacks in particular. The Central Park
jogger case and the riots in Brooklyn that broke out after an
African-American child was killed by an auto driven by an Orthodox Jew
generated an intense racist "law and order" mood that resulted in the
election of Rudolph Giuliani.
Now recent DNA investigations, coupled with new testimony, reveal that
the youths who were charged with the Central Park attack were innocent
in all likelihood.
NY Times, Sept. 28, 2002
Reinvestigation of Park Jogger Case Leaves Some Officials With Doubts
By JIM DWYER
Last summer, long after the Central Park jogger case had faded from
sight and before it rose again like a spectral relic, investigators paid
visits to two of the five men convicted in 1990 of the crime. And while
many officials still believe that justice was done in that case, the
results of those visits have shaken veteran law enforcement officials'
confidence in the original convictions.
The investigators, working for the Manhattan district attorney's office,
spoke with one man in prison and one at his home. On the surface, these
were just courtesy calls to see how the convicted men were doing, and to
talk about how the criminal justice system handles the questioning of
That was a ruse, officials say. Behind their visit was an attempt to see
if a notorious crime once attributed to a mob of young teenagers from
Harlem actually was the work of a single, lone predator or of some other
combination of forces.
Those questions remain wide open. Still, in the interviews, the two men
continued to deny any connection at all to the attack on the jogger,
even though they had completed their sentences and could not be given
any more jail time. They freely admitted being involved in other crimes
in the park that night, the officials said.
And without realizing it, the two men also opened considerable distance
between themselves and a man now unequivocally implicated in the rape.
Mr. Morgenthau's office declined to comment on the inquiry yesterday,
but it is clear that the prosecution spent a great deal of energy on
reviewing the case. All the evidence still available has been
re-examined using advanced DNA testing, and none of it links the five
men to the crime. At the trial, the prosecution had argued that hairs
found on Mr. Richardson's clothes came from the jogger. Recent DNA tests
show that claim to be wrong.
Some ambiguities remain. In their videotaped statements, two of the
teenagers said that someone they knew only as "Tony" participated in the
attack. That was a nickname used by Mr. Reyes, but at the time, another
young man, Tony Montalvo, was arrested for some of the park muggings,
but not the rape.
In addition, the first police officer on the scene said that the jogger
was bound on the arms and mouth. This detail was not mentioned by Mr.
Reyes during his recent interviews, nor, for that matter, by any of the
five men originally convicted.
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