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Was It ‘Racist’ To Think The ‘Central Park Five’ Were Guilty?

Aug 14, 2020

Whenever people are asked for evidence that President Trump is a racist, the same few examples are usually given. One of the top examples is always that Trump thought the Central Park Five were guilty.

In 1989 Trisha Meili was brutally raped and beaten. She was beaten so severely and lost so much blood after being left for dead that it is a miracle she survived. Police investigated and arrested five African Americans. The purpose of this article is not to relitigate the case. The only question being considered is: does thinking the five were guilty mean you are ‘racist’ as is often claimed.

There were two criminal trials that unanimously convicted the five. If an average person is racist for thinking they were guilty, then the two juries must also be racist for convicting them after hearing all of the evidence including a vigorous defense.

But does it make sense to think there were two racist juries? The first jury was comprised of four black members, four whites, three Hispanics, and one Asian. The second jury was comprised of three Hispanic members, five whites, three blacks and one Asian. Does it make sense that seven black people voted to convict because they were racist against black people? Or does it make much more sense that the evidence they heard was compelling beyond a reasonable doubt.

Supposedly all five suspects were later ‘exonerated’ on the word of serial rapist and murderer Matias Reyes. Reyes confessed, his DNA was a match and he claimed he acted alone. Reyes had incentive to claim he acted alone and nothing to lose as the statute of limitations had passed. But that DNA evidence did not exonerate the five because they were not convicted on DNA evidence. It proved Reyes was there but it doesn’t prove others weren’t there. The prosecutor at the time knew someone “got away.”  There were several confessions to various aspects of the attack. The five later said those confessions were coerced by the police but that doesn’t explain the witnesses who said the various defendants told them they participated in the attack and even bragged about it. “I had nothing to do with the rape. All I did was feel the woman's tits.” “You heard about that woman that was beat up and raped in the park last night? That was us!”, “only held her legs down”, “We just raped somebody.” “Everybody started hitting her and stuff. She was on the ground, everybody stompin' and everything. ... I grabbed one arm, some other kid grabbed one arm and we grabbed her legs and stuff. Then we all took turns getting on her, getting on top of her.” “He was smackin’ her, he was sayin’, ‘Shut up, bitch!’ Just smackin’ her…I was grabbin’ the lady’s tits.” “This was my first rape.”

Again, the point is not to relitigate the facts of the case. The point is simply to ask why it would be racist to think they were guilty when seven black people on two juries spent months analyzing all of the evidence and concluded that they were guilty? If you think Donald Trump is a racist for believing that the Central Park Five were guilty, then you would have to believe that all seven black jurors who convicted them are also racist against black people. But since that is not remotely plausible, the conclusion has to be that thinking the five were guilty does not make one a racist.


John Black is the founder of the WhatHappened.com website.

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