PoliticsNation | December 13, 2012
>>> a woman in new york city 's central park shook the residents of this city and reverberated across the country. it came to be known simply as the central park jogger case. five young men were arrested for the attack. and on the 28-year-old investment banker in the park, they were accused of raping her and severely beating her. and leaving her for dead in the bushes. the teenagers, four blacks and one hispanic, were 14, 15 and 16 years old. they did not know each other. they were described as a pack of wild animals . a new term was created. wilding. in this case, the justice system moved quickly. under intense police interrogation, the teenagers all confessed to the crime. but almost immediately, they recanted those confessions showing at trial they were convicted anyway and they spent from 7 to 13 years in state prison . but there was a problem in this case. the five young men had nothing to do with the story of the central park jogger . we know that because 13 years later, this man came forward and confessed to the crime. his dna matched that was found at the scene. he confessed while already serving 33 years to life for other crimes, including rape and murder. these young men should have been presumed innocent and i helped to raise money to help bail them out of jail. ten years ago this movant, they were exonerated. and now, an important new documentary is bringing new light to this ugly chapter in new york's history.
>> the police controlled the story.
>> they seized on the fears of the peeld.
>> wilding. the best characterization of the black man.
>> for a long time, many people thought this case had one victim. the truth is there are six victims in this story. today, we need to take a new look at the conduct of police in this case. some for more than 24 hours with no lawyers present. i spoke recently to four of those five now men and the film maker who's telling the real story of what happened. joining me now, four of five of the men convicted that they did not commit. you said he was 15 at the time of his arrest. kevin richardson , then just 14 years old. raymond santana, also 14. and corey at 16, he was the oldest of the five and was tried as an adult. also, with her husband, david mcmcman. first of all, thank you all for being here tonight. now, you were 14?
>> yes, i was 14.
>> where was your lawyer?
>> i didn't have any lawyer.
>> did you have a lawyer?
>> no, sir.
>> did you have a lawyer?
>> no, sir. so all of this happened with no lawyers.
>> were your parents there?
>> some of our parents were there.
>> i've never seen her. i would hear her voice and see her peep into the room. and the detective, they were using like a tactic. these were seasoned professionals. we were kids. very fragile at the time. they would tell my mother, don't worry. we just want to speak to him. at the time, she was very weak, you know. she couldn't really stand up as much. so she sat down for a while. and while they would take her away, that's when themd work on me. the reality of the matter, none of us, including our parents, had never had any involvement with the law. they were just as ignorant as we were. sometimes people look at the film and look at the story of the central park jogger case. they say to us, well, why would your parents not scream? we want a lawyer. all you've got to do is say this and we'll let your sons go home. this is the amount of technology they were using was so devious that it caused even our parents at the point of saying, you know what, maybe if we just go along with it we'll be able to get out of here. and that wasn't what happened.
>> noi, let me take you back to the interrogation. kechb, let me show you a clip where raymond and kevin are talking about how police tried to play you against each other. watch this.
>> you're not saying nothing, but i'm like i didn't do anything. it's like oh, i just want to help. i know you didn't do anything. you're a good kid. this isn't you. you pulled out this picture of carol richardson. and he goes do you know this kid? i said no, i don't know him. he said you see the scratches on his eye? that came from the woman. they know you did it. he's going down.
>> at this point, i'm, like, you know, i don't know these guys are there. so i'm just going to make up something. and include these guys names.
>> okay, if you're going to do it to me, i'm going to do it to you.
>> it was culture to me and i'm just writing it down.
>> now, police actually told you the other ones that implicated you so you -- is that how this confession happened? you just made things up? well, they were just coaching us to write things on the paper. words that a 14 yooerld wouldn't know. and at the end of the day , we were tired from lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of showers. we were just wanting it to go home. we wanted it to go away.
>> once a juvenile is broken down, you can basically tell them anything. they fed me the names. they fed me who used the rock because we knew that that was used.
>> these are police telling you?
>> the police . and all the while, detective hardi hardigan is saying i know you want to go home.
>> and they screamed at you?
>> definitely. there were times when my grandmother took me out of the room and started yelling me in the face and the detective was yelling in my ear.
>> corey, you said you made things up just to save your life. what was going through your head?
>> been there too long. just been there too long. it wasn't no playground for me. i wanted to get the hell out of there. they were just holding me. holding me hostage there just to give them the story that they wanted.
>> so you thought if you just made it up, they would let you go?
>> right. i had no parent or lawyer there. i just really didn't know what the hell to do.
>> so there was no physical evidence, no dna, nothing at all that con nerkted any of you all to the case? the only thing that convicted you were the confessions?
>> raymond , you said that you just kept waiting for it to be over. when did you begin to realize it wasn't going to be over for a long time?
>> you know, being 14, a lot of stiff goes over your head. you don't know what happens. it all seems like a blur. it all seems like this nightmare that you can't wake up from. you can't escape from. even from now, to this day, it's still not over. we still have this chapter that hasn't been closed. that we're still fighting the civil suit and people are still saying we're guilty. the night mary continues.
>> sarah, police and prosecutors were not interviewed for the film. they maintained that they did nothing wrong.
>> well, we tried to interview them. we had hoped to include them. they wouldn't return our calls or they wouldn't because of the civil suit in our defendants.
>> i want to show you this. this is david denkins, who was the mayor of new york at the time.
>> the accounts given by the five defendants differed from one another on the specific details of virtually every major aspect of the crime. who initiated the attack, who knocked the victim down, who undressed her, who struck her, who held her, who raped her, what weapons were used in the course of the assault. abds some of what they said was simply contrary to establish fact. now, this is a damn shame.
>> i mean, he was mayor at the time. and when the report comes out that exonerates them, sarah, they still, to this day, have not been compensated or cleared?
>> right, the convictions were vacated in 2002 . so in that sensz, they were cleared. but that was still cast into doubt at that time. so i think it causes a lot of people to still have questions about whether they did this or not. the facts just don't support that. it's very clear. as you hear what denkins is reading, we know who did this. it wasn't these guys. and it's very clear that they didn't do it.
>> you all filed the civil suit against the city in i think it was 2003 . where does the suit stand today?
>> it's unbelievable that this lawsuit has just started. it's moving at such a snail's pace. everybody who sees this film, this important film, they realize that, one, if they bought the lie back in 1989 , how they were tricked. they're so upset and out raged, that the fact that the city is still dragging their feet in trying to compensate us, you know, they wanted us to die a social delt. this was a death sentence. they wanted society to kill us off, as well. never in a million years did they want us to succeed and be here before you today telling the truth ant this matter.
>> film just opened. it's an important story and a powerful one. thank you for sharing with us.
>> there are many questions left about the tactics police use to elicit false confession . we will get into those in much more detail next week in a special edition of "politics nation," the central park five. that's next wednesday on this show. how police and others could use the state purposely to come to conclusion and how to this day, those young men that lost 7-13 years of their life still not given any compensation. they were advocates on both sides. i was an advocate that believed in them. we're not talking about advocates here. we're talking about police . we're talking about people with the power of the state that had children with no lawyers or paren parents make confessions that they coached into and no one stepping forward to compensate anything. we'll discuss that next wednesday. thanks for watching.