New York City has agreed to pay $40 million to five men who were wrongfully accused of brutally beating and raping a woman in Central Park in 1989.
Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam and Kharey Wise were teenagers when they were convicted for the brutal rape of a young woman. The Central Park rape case shook New York and made headlines across the country, sparking fears about the city's soaring crime rate and fuelling racial tensions.
All five men, of African-American and Latino descent aged between 14 and 16, insisted they were coerced into making a false confession under intense media scrutiny and exhaustion following an intense interrogation.
In 2002, Matias Reyes, a convicted rapist and murderer, confessed that he assaulted and sexually abused the victim, Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old, white investment banker, who nearly died in the attack, while she was jogging. He offered a detailed account of the attack and DNA evidence tied him to the rape.
An internal review by the Manhattan district attorney's office later found that the teenagers' original confessions included "troubling discrepancies" and recommended vacating their convictions. By then, all five men had been released from prison after serving between five and 13 years.
The settlement, first reported by The New York Times, must still be approved by New York's comptroller and then by a federal judge. If approved, the deal would make good on an election campaign promise by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who vowed to settle the multi-million dollar lawsuit against the city.