THE CENTRAL PARK JOGGER CASE

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.

TRANSCRIPT

> 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.

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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