Donald Trump and the Central Park Five

Let’s not let this slip through the cracks

Yesterday, Trump’s campaign took a nosedive after his heinous comments on assaulting women were made public, but earlier that same day on CNN he insisted the Central Park Five were still guilty, saying this:

“They admitted they were guilty. 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.”

This is worth examining for a few minutes.

I didn’t grow up in NYC, but I remember the late 1980s crime wave and the highly publicized and racially-charged case of the Central Park Jogger (a white woman) who was brutally beaten, raped, and left for dead in 1989. The police arrested a bunch of teens, and eventually settled on five suspects for the jogger case. Four were African American and one was Latino. After two days of intense interrogations the NYPD coerced confessions from them, and they were all convicted and served prison sentences from 6 to 13 years.

A couple weeks after the crime, Donald Trump took out full-page ads in newspapers urging NY’s Governor to reinstate the death penalty, presumably so the person(s) who perpetrated the crime would be put to death.

Trump’s full page ad

In 2002, Matias Reyes, already serving a life sentence for serial rapes and a murder, confessed to the crime and submitted his own DNA for testing, which matched the semen found on the victim. He said he acted alone. Matching DNA plus the confession plus details of how he tied the victim up (similar to his other victims) all add up to as close as you can possibly get to 100% certainty Reyes committed the crime. Not the five other men.

Now imagine that you called for the death of people who turned out to be innocent based on scientific evidence that came to light years later. In a way, you lucked out. You could end up on the right side of history even though your sense of revenge at the time made you rush to condemn the wrong suspects.

So what do you do about it in 2016? Do you respond with remorse about your earlier misjudgment in the case? Do you express regret at fanning the racial flames that unfairly put away these men for over a decade? Do you admit you jumped to the wrong conclusion when faced with scientific evidence linking a new confessor to the crime?

On October 7, 2016, Donald Trump insisted the Central Park Five were still guilty because he would have rather seen those men die in prison from life sentences than admit he was ever wrong about anything.

As for why he still says this despite all the evidence to the contrary, I can only come up with this: Donald Trump is a racist piece of shit.