December 09, 2003

'I Want Justice'

3 in Jogger Case Sue City

"I want justice; I never received justice," Santana, 29, told reporters yesterday. "I never received an apology, nothing. ... We're going to ride this all the way to the end."

[ the complete article ]

Posted by ronn at 02:24 AM

It's About Justice

3 of 5 in Jogger Case Sue City, Charging a Wide Conspiracy

Three of the five men whose convictions were overturned last year in the 1989 Central Park jogger attack filed a federal civil rights lawsuit yesterday against New York City, the Police Department and prosecutors.

In the lawsuit, filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, the three claimed that their convictions in the 1989 attack were based on racial animus and a wide conspiracy among law enforcement officials.

The suit, which seeks $50 million for each man, did not come as a surprise. In fact, lawyers for the three men, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson and Raymond Santana Jr., along with the men's families, said months ago that they would seek civil damages. That was after a State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan vacated the original convictions as recommended by the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau. (Lawyers for the two other men whose convictions were overturned, Yousef Salaam and Kharey Wise, have previously indicated that they will bring similar suits.)

Representatives for the city, the district attorney and the Police Department would not comment on the lawsuit, saying they had not seen it.

Mr. Morgenthau's 11-month reconstruction of the case last year found DNA and other evidence that the jogger had been beaten and raped by only one man, Mathias Reyes, a convicted murderer and rapist who confessed last January that he alone had attacked the jogger.

The other men served between 7 and 13 years in jail.

[ the complete article ]

Posted by ronn at 02:16 AM

October 12, 2003

CP5: Five FAQs

1. Who are the Central Park 5?

A. Five Black and Latino teens wrongfully convicted of raping a white investment banker in a highly contentious case wrought with racial overtones. They are Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise. In actuality, there were over a dozen boys questioned and implicated, some of them plead to lesser charges, and many -- including the supposed ringleader, Steven Lopez -- were not charged with the attack on the jogger.

2. Who is the Central Park Jogger?

A. After more than a decade, Trisha Meili came forward as the Central Park jogger. While most of mainstream media would not reveal her name, she was known as Patricia Meili after after two local news stations (WPIX, channel 11, and WNBC, channell 4) and a couple of newspapers geared towards the African American community (The New York Amsterdam News and The Daily Challenge) published her name; the former apologized and decided to keep her anonymous, while the latter chose to publicize her name often since it was already known by many.

3. What happened on April 19, 1989?

A. Simply: Trisha Meili was raped and left for dead, and white media went wilding. So did prominent pols and personalities like Donald Trump -- his "bring back the death penalty" ad is infamous, nearly 15 years later. So are misguided, false notions of "superpredators.

4. Why all the recent fuss if this happened more than 14 years ago?

A. One name: Matias Reyes.

5. What happens now?

We will most definitely see lawsuits move forward and possibly large settlements or awards for the five young men. They have gone forward with their lives, especially Raymond Santana.

Posted by ronn at 01:54 AM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2003

Finally, A Brief Intro

Don't know why I took so long to introduce myself. Then again, I don't really like doing that that much. I figure: read and learn. A valuable lesson for all of our endeavors.

{ a burst of light } was inspired by the life and work of Black, Queer poet and activist Audre Lorde.

I am a publishing consultant specializing in book publishing, general editing and (soon) book packaging. I consider myself progressive when it comes to politics, moderate when it comes to lifestyles and intolerant when it comes to hateful people. Love to hear from readers and other webloggers, especially in the New York City area.

Posted by ronn at 02:07 PM

September 10, 2003

'This case destroyed me'

Santana reflects on life after Central Park jogger case

As part of Trisha Meili's attempts to get her shattered life back on track, the Central Park jogger ran, literally, back to the site of the vicious attack and rape, 14 years later. As for Raymond Santana, convicted but later cleared in the case, he hasn't set foot in the park since the day he was arrested.

"I've been near it," Santana said last week of the park. "But as far as in, no. I don't know, I'm not trying to go there. Or run into anybody and they say, 'Oh, he's back in the park.'"

Like Meili, he is a victim, said Santana, in one of the rare interviews he has given since the convictions were overturned and his name cleared in the Central Park rape. He has slowly tried to put his life back together, taking business courses at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, and working as an office assistant there.

But some things may never get back to normal. At 28, he has been unable to sustain a relationship with a woman for more than six months, he said, largely because of the stigma of the case. And by the time the conviction was overturned, half of his family had shunned him.

"This case destroyed me..."

More to come later this month and later this weekend, the beginning of a FAQ (finally!).

Posted by ronn at 02:23 AM

May 19, 2003

Faces of the Innocent

For those that just don't get it:

From LA Weekly, May 16 - 22: Injustice for all by Sara Catania

All told, the men and woman portrayed in The Innocents served nearly 560 years for crimes they did not commit. By visual count, it appears that 28 are black, 14 white and three Latino... Judging from the case summaries and interviews accompanying the portraits, all are lower-middle-class or poor.

Posted by ronn at 10:36 AM

April 22, 2003


Over the next several weeks I will post extensively on the Central Park 5. This past Saturday was the 14th anniversary of the rape of Patricia Meili. The racial maelstrom that followed that attack and still effects New York City is evident today.

While Matias Reyes is a monster that should be held accountable for his actions, persecutors prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, NYPD officers and investigators, the white press, politicians, neo-politicians and a gullible public should also be held responsible for the racist treatment suffered by Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Jr., and Kharey Wise and the implications their vilification and convictions had on the entire Black and Latino communities of New York City. Indeed, their families suffered tragically on a very personal level. Santana lost his mother years ago and most of the young men have strained relationships with their relations.

Up next: a Central Park 5 FAQ, list of players in the case and reports, articles and editorials from the very early stages of the case.

From the front page of The City Sun, April 26 - May 2, 1989


That anyone would set out to stalk, brutally beat and sexually assault a young woman and then leaver her for dead is more than an outrage; it is condemnable. That a tragic situation such as this would be used by politicians, the police, and the press to accomplish their own base agencies is beneath contempt.

From the very outset of the case it was clear what the intent was: to use an undeniably heinous crime, whose victim still is hospitalized and comatose as a result of her injuries, to fan the flames of racial divisiveness and hatred. That lends itself to lurid headlines and lurid headlines sell papers. That livens up the boob tube with invective. That gives cops a chance to show New York who the "real" criminals are and why we have neither law nor order. That provides a solid soapbox on which politicians can stand as they call for legislative "reforms" in the name of humanity, decency and the American Way.

We are outraged that anyone should suffer, as the young woman in Central Park evidently did, the kind of brutality she was subjected to. Our sympathies are with her and with her family as she struggles for life at Metropolitan Hospital.

But our sympathies are with our community also. For we continue to be subjected to a duality of treatment that has its roots firmly anchored in racism.

That same media that refused to print or say that Tawana Brawley was raped had no difficulty summarily in stating so in the case of the Central Park victim. The same media that demanded Brawley "prove" her sexual assault made no such demands in the Central Park case. The same media that had no difficulty identifying the underaged Wappingers Falls teen-ager by name, invading the sanctity of her home to show her face and even televising seminude pictures of her while she was in the hospital have been careful to avoid identifying the Central Park woman; in one case, a television station even issued an apology to the victim's family and to the viewing public for having made the error. The same media that would not accept a Black female teen-ager's story that as many as six white men sexually assaulted her have no journalistic problem difficulty stating as fact that Black boys sexually assaulted the white woman in Central Park. They tell us that only young Black men go "wilding;" young white men never do.

Within hours of the incident the cops could "solve" the crime complete with "arrests," "questioning of suspects," "statements" by the alleged rapists, and even "confessions." And the wheels of the criminal-justice system turned rapidly; indictments may be handed up by the end of the week. No suspects were rounded up in the Brawley case because, as state Attorney General Robert Abrams told New York, "there may not have been a crime committed here" and even if one was, "it was consensual."

Would Abrams dare repeat his asinine claim that the Central Park jogger "fabricated" her injuries? Would Abrams or Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau issue a report exculpating the alleged wrongdoers of this crime? No! Would the state have assigned 60 detectives and other investigative personnel full time to probe the Brawley case? No!

And then there are the politicians and the neopoliticians. Suddenly they all know the appropriate thing to say and the appropriate thing to do. Some, like Koch and Cuomo, are quick to talk tough about crime and about swift and certain punishment--the same rhetoric that was absent in the Brawley case. Others, like David Dinkins, who helped compromise interest of justice in both the Brawley and Howard Beach cases, have appointed themselves the dubious task of "healing" New York. We will see a few of these "leaders" in the coming weeks acting as apologists for the Black community, as if the entire Black community of New York attacked and assaulted the jogger in Central Park.

We must be clear: The unfortunate attack on the woman is unforgivable, inexcusable and indefensible. Those who committed that heinous act must be punished and to the fullest extent of the law. But application of the law must be evenhanded and fair: the duality that exists also is unforgivable, inexcusable and indefensible. It cannot consistently be the position among the politicians, the police and the white press that on the one hand nothing applies but on the other everything does. It cannot be that similar situations should yield such disparate reactions and results.

Posted by ronn at 05:20 PM
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