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New York City To Pay Millions To End Central Park Jogger Case

Jun 20, 2014
Originally published on June 20, 2014 6:29 am
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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. The Central Park jogger case was one of the most sensational, racially charged crimes in recent American history. And it's back in the news today, over a multimillion-dollar settlement.

WERTHEIMER: Twenty-five years ago, five African-American and Latino teenagers were charged with beating and raping a young white woman who'd been jogging in New York's Central Park. After days of interrogation by homicide detectives, the boys confessed.

MONTAGNE: Then almost immediately, they recanted, saying police had pressured them into making false confessions. In this 2012 PBS documentary, two of the defendants describe their interrogation.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE CENTRAL PARK 5")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: Like, I don't know these guys that did this, so I'm just going to make up something and include these guys' names.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2: OK, if - you know, if you're going to do it to me, then I'm going to do it to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: They was coaching me, and I was writing it down.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2: He just fed it to me.

WERTHEIMER: All were convicted and served prison terms ranging from six to 13 years. But 12 years ago, a jailed serial rapist and murderer whose DNA matched the crime scene confessed to carrying out the attack alone. And the boys' long-ago convictions were vacated.

MONTAGNE: The five brought a civil rights suit against New York City. This morning, The New York Times reports they have agreed to settle their suit for about $40 million. The settlement must still be approved by the city and the federal judge hearing the case, but it would add up to $1 million for each of the cumulative years the men spent in prison. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.