i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Five Men Wrongly Convicted to Receive $40 Million Settlement from NYC

five men wrongly convicted, and later exonerated, of brutally raping a female jogger in central park in 1989 were awarded a $40 million settlement from new york city. the attack became known as the central park jogger case. it made national headlines, polarized communities and raised concerns about racism in the criminal justice system. 

the five men, all black and latino, were between age 14-16 when they confessed after lengthy police interrogations. antron mccray, kevin richardson, raymond santana, korey wise and yusef salaam each soon recanted, insisting they were coerced by nypd officers under duress, exhaustion and fear. in 2002, matias reyes confessed to the crime: dna tied him to the rape.

the jogger, trisha meili, a 28 year-old white investment banker, nearly died, was severely traumatized and has no memory of the experience. the settlement requires approval from the city's comptroller, and from deborah batts, the federal judge in manhattan who presided over the case, which polarized the nation at the time. 

jonathan moore, one of the lawyers for the men, declined to comment. a spokeswoman for the city's law department also declined to comment, citing pending litigation. the deal comes six months after mayor bill de blasio, who called for a settlement, took office. his predecessor, michael bloomberg, resisted settling the case, with city lawyers repeatedly saying the convictions withstood legal scrutiny regardless of whether they were later vacated.

an internal review by the manhattan district attorney's office, which moved to throw out the convictions in 2002, found the boys' original confessions included "troubling discrepancies." a judge vacated the convictions. by then, however, all five had been released from prison after serving between five and 13 years.

the five men sued the city in 2003 for wrongful conviction and violation of their civil rights. they sought $250 million in damages. the lawsuit gained renewed attention in 2012, when the critically-acclaimed documentary filmmaker ken burns released, "central park five." burns' film cast the men as victims of racial tension, and a rush to judgment by the city. 

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