THE CENTRAL PARK JOGGER CASE

April 19, 2019 at 4:30 am

It was 30 years ago that a young woman was brutally raped and left for dead. The Central Park Five were arrested, convicted and served significant time for that crime. We’re re-opening the files on a case that rocked the nation.

Aired on April 18, 2019.

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>> MAYOR ED KOCH CALLED AT THIS
TIME CRIME OF THE CENTURY ON.
APRIL 19, 1989, A YOUNG FEMALE
JOGGER WAS BRUTALLY BEATEN AND
RAPED IN CENTRAL PARK.
WITHIN DAYS, FIVE TEENAGERS WERE
ARRESTED AND CONFESSED TO THE
CRIME.
THEY BECAME KNOWN AS THE CENTRAL
PARK FIVE.
AND THE CRIME AND THEIR
SUBSEQUENT TRIAL BOTH RIVETED
AND DIVIDED THE CITY.
NOW, 30 YEARS LATER, AFTER THE
ORANGE CRIME, THE MEMORY OF THE
MEDIA FRENZY OVER THE CENTRAL
PARK JOGGER CASE REMAINS A FLASH
POINT FOR THOSE WHO LIVED IT.
JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THAT
MOMENT IN TIME IN NEW YORK
HISTORY, MARVIN SCOTT WHO
COVERED THE SKOIR AS AN ANCHOR
AND REPORTER ALL THOSE YEARS
AGO.
WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.
>> GOOD TO BE WITH YOU.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
SO YOU WERE A REPORTER.
I WAS A KID AT THE TIME.
BUT PLEASE, TAKE US BACK TO NEW
YORK OF 1989.
WHAT WAS THE CITY LIKE IN.
>> TENSE.
THERE WAS FEAR THAT PERMEATED
THE CITY.
CRIME WAS A RECORD HIGH AT THAT
TIME.
WE HAD A CRACK EPIDEMIC.
YOU HAD GANG VIOLENCE, MURDERS,
SOMEWHERE AROUND, MORE THAN 12
MURDERS A WEEK BACK THEN.
SO THE CITY WAS GRIPPED IN FEAR
AT THIS PARTICULAR TIME.
WHEN THIS STORY DEVELOPED, YOU
HEARD WHAT ED KOCH AND OTHERS
SAID.
THIS RIVALED ANY CRIME THRILLER
BACK THEN.
30 YEARS AGO, THAT STORY STIRS
AS MUCH CONTROVERSY AS IT DID
BACK THEN.
BECAUSE THERE ARE SKEMTPTICS.
THE POLICE DID THEIR JOB
METICULOUSLY, AS MAYOR BLOOMBERG
SAID AT ONE POINT.
AND THEN THE JUSTICE REFORM
ADVOCATES SAY JUSTICE WAS
SERVED.
THIS WAS ALL A RUSH TO JUDGMENT.
THERE ARE SO MANY TWISTS AND
TURNS IN THIS STORY THAT
OCCURRED THAT WEDNESDAY NIGHT ON
APRIL 19th, 1989.
POLICE MADE ARRESTS WITHIN A
MATTER OF HOURS AND THEY PICKED
UP AND CHARGED, WELL, BEFORE
THEY CHARGED, THEY PICKED UP
FIVE BOYS, KNOWN AS THE CENTRAL
PARK FIVE.
THEY RANGE IN AGE FROM 14 TO 16.
THEY QUESTIONED THEM,
INTERROGATED THEM, FOR 24, 14 TO
30 HOURS, AS I REMEMBER THE
FIGURE.
AND DURING THAT TIME, THEY KEPT
PUMPING THEM FOR MORE DETAILS
ABOUT THE RAPE AND THE ATTACK.
THE BOYS LATER CLAIMED THAT THEY
WERE DEPRIVED OF FOOD, DEPRIVED
OF DRINK, DEPRIVED OF SLEEP.
>> AND THAT KIND OF GOES INTO
ONE OF THE QUESTIONS THAT SO
MANY PEOPLE WOULD HAVE ABOUT A
CASE LIKE THIS.
WHY WOULD THEY CONFESS TO
SOMETHING THAT THEY CLAIMED THEY
DID NOT DO?
>> ONE OF THE REPORTS THAT CAME
OUT AT THE TIME WAS THAT THEY
MADE A DEAL WITH POLICE.
YOU TELL US WHAT HAPPENED THAT
NIGHT.
WE'LL LET YOU GO HOME AND
EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY.
AND REPORTEDLY, THE BOYS SECOND
THAT.
AND THEY PROVIDED STORIES BUT
THERE WAS SOMETHING INTERESTING
ABOUT THAT.
BECAUSE THERE WERE
INCONSISTENCIES IN THE STORY.
FIVE BOYS THAT WERE INVOLVED IN
A CRIME WOULD HAVE ALL HAD THE
SAME TALE.
THEY TOLD DIFFERENT TALES.
A COUPLE OF THEM TALKED ABOUT
STABBING THE VICTIM BUT THERE
WERE NO STAB WOUNDS ON THE
VICTIM.
INTERESTING TO KNOW, TOO, POLICE
DID NOT FIND ANY DNA EVIDENCE OF
THE BOYS AND THERE WAS ONLY
LIMITED PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF THE
BOYS BEING INVOLVED IN THE
ATTACK.
>> IT IS INTERESTING THAT YOU
MENTION THAT HAD THEY DIDN'T
FIND ANY DNA FROM THE THEN BOYS
EVENTUALLY GROWN MEN.
THEY DID FIND SOME DNA.
THAT'S ACTUALLY WHAT SET THEM
FREE.
>> THAT IS WHAT SET THEM FREE.
INITIALLY, POLICE AT THE SCENE
DID FIND DNA.
DID NOT MATCH THE BOYS BUT IT
REMAINED UNKNOWN DNA FOR ABOUT
13 YEARS.
THAT'S WHEN ONE OF THE BOYS,
KEVIN WISE, HE WAS TRIED AS AN
ADULT.
HE WAS SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS.
HE WAS SERVING TIME.
I BELIEVE IT WAS AT RIKERS.
HE MET A SERIAL KILLER MAX TIEAS
REYES.
HE HAD BEEN IN FOR A NUMBER OF
RAPES.
HE WOULD BREAK INTO APARTMENTS
AND RAPE WOMEN.
HE HAD BEEN CONVICTED OF A RAPE
EARLIER IN CENTRAL PARK AND HE
WAS IN NOW, 33 YEARS TO LIFE.
THAT'S THE STORY OF WHAT
HAPPENED.
REYES SAID HE FOUND RELIGION
WHILE INCARCERATED.
AND HE FELT WISE' PAIN.
SO HE TOLD HIM HE DID IT.
NOW, THEY WEREN'T EMPTY WORDS.
BECAUSE ONCE POLICE WENT TO
CHECK THEY CORROBORATED HIS
TALE.
THEY FOUND HIS DNA ON THE
VICTIM.
THEY EVENTUALLY RECEIVED $41
MILLION TO SHARE AMONGST THE
FIVE.
IN 2012, I BELIEVE IT WAS,
DOCUMENT ARIAN IMMORTALIZED
THEM.
HE CLAIMED THEY WERE WRONGFULLY
CONVICTED FOR ONE REASON.
RACISM.
AND THERE WAS MUCH RACISM IN NEW
YORK IN THE LATE 1980s.
IT WAS CHARACTERIZED AS ONE OF
THE MOST SENSATIONAL CRIMES OF
THAT ENTIRE DECADE.
>> ALL RIGHT.
WELL, THE CRIME THAT CONTINUES
TO RIVET SO MANY NEW YORKERS.
THANK YOU FOR SATISFYING US BACK
TO THAT TIME.
I THINK SOMETIMES WHEN WE LOOK
BACK, WE LOOK BACK THROUGH WITH
IT THE LENS OF NOW.
AND IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER
WHERE WE WERE AS A CITY AND A
COUNTRY IN 1989.
THANK YOU SOMUCH FOR JOINING
US.
>> MY PLEASURE.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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