The Central Park Five And The Chicago Case Of The Innocence Project

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In April, 1989, a woman jogging alone in New York City’s Central Park was brutally beaten, raped, and sodomized. Five teenagers, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise (also known as Kharey Wise), were convicted of the crime. They became known as the “Central Park Five”, and were convicted largely because of their false confessions. NYC Mayor Koch called it the crime of the century. The sentences of Central Park Five were vacated in 2002 after DNA evidence showed another man was responsible, and in 2014 they were awarded $41 million as part of their settlement against the city.

To research wrongful convictions is to delve into the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization founded in 1992. Their goal is to free and exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals
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In the Central Park Five, two were 14 years of age, two were 15 years of age, and one was 16 years of age. This certainly places them in a category of ‘less than a high school diploma’. Several of the Central Park Five have publicly discussed how police interrogators told them that if they signed a paper, they could go home. This is an eerily familiar story in other cases as well. In the Chicago case of the “Englewood Four”, the prosecutor in that case would eventually admit that the teenagers (Terrill Swift, Michael Saunders, Vincent Thames, and Harold Richardson) were coerced into confessing to the 1994 rape and murder of 30 year old Nina Glover. Terrill Swift, 17 at the time, was told by police that he could leave if he admitted to the crimes. He signed a 21 page confession giving specific details, not understanding the repercussions of doing so. There was no DNA evidence linking the young men to the crime; however, semen found in the woman’s body was later revealed to be a match to serial rapist and murderer Johnny Douglas, who is now

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