The Central Park Five is calling out President Trump for putting a “bounty” on their heads when he took out full-page ads thirty years ago calling for their deaths over a crime they did not commit.
Yusef Salaam, one of the five men who were falsely convicted as teenagers in the Central Park Five case put Donald Trump on blast during an event on Friday where the group received a courage award. At the time of the case, then NYC socialite Trump took out a series of full-page ads in New York City newspapers where he demanded the young teens be sentenced to the death penalty after they were wrongly accused of the brutal 1989 rape of a white female jogger in Central Park.
After it was revealed in 2002 that the now grown men were innocent, the case has been seen as an example of racial injustice within the U.S. legal system. The group was exonerated after another man confessed to the crime and DNA evidence proved it. However, Trump has never apologized for his vicious actions.
Quoting Korey Wise, another member of the Central Park Five, Yusef Salaam told the room:
“Korey said it so well. He said, when Donald Trump took out that full-page ad, and put them in all of New York City’s newspapers, calling for our execution, he placed a bounty on our head.” Salaam said.
“They had published our names, our phone numbers, and our addresses in New York City’s newspapers. Imagine the horror of that,” he added.
Following Ava Duvernay’s recent release of the Netflix miniseries “When They See Us,” that put more details of the case into clear perspective, the five victims have been receiving much recognition for their bravery and continued social justice work.
Salaam, Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Antron McCray were honored with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California’s inaugural Roger Baldwin Courage Award at the group’s 25th Annual Luncheon. Actor Michael B. Jordan introduced the group and spoke of how much he admired the men for how strongly they maintained their innocence over the years, The Associated Press reports.
After being exonerated in 2002, it took twelve years for the five men to receive their $40 million settlement from New York City for their arrests and imprisonment.
Backlash from the miniseries has led to the #CancelLindaFairstein movement against one of the Central Park Five’s lead prosecutors, Linda Fairstein. The Penguin Random House imprint Dutton confirmed to the BBC on Friday that it ended its publishing relationship with Fairstein. She has also stepped down from her board roles at a nonprofit organization and at Vassar College.
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