“The Central Park 5,” the five black and Hispanic men who were charged with the brutal sexual assault of a jogger in Central Park in 1989 and have since been exonerated, will settle their suit against the city for $40 million, The New York Times reports.
In 2002, through DNA evidence, it was discovered that a single man who was already a convicted rapist and murderer was solely responsible for the attack. Since then, the five men have been trying to clear their names. The controversy over this case raged for years, with race playing a big role in the conviction of the men. The media used charged phrases like “wolf pack” or “wilding” to describe the alleged attackers, equating them with wild animals.
The lawsuit had accused the city’s police and prosecutors of false arrest, malicious prosecution and a racially motivated conspiracy to deprive the men of their civil rights, allegations which the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg denied and fought vigorously for more than a decade in federal court.
In January, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to help the men citing a “moral obligation to right this injustice” The five exonerated men will receive $1 million for each year they served in prison. They each served between 7 and 13 years. The case was profiled in Ken Burns’ 2012 documentary The Central Park Five.