Sunday, December 18, 2022

Bulletin: Very Special Event Tomorrow: Monday 19 December, 2022: 11.00 a.m. ET: 'Gate of the Exonerated' unveiling ceremony: The exonerated Five: (Formerly referred to as the 'Central Park Five'): Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise; Ceremony marks 20 years since they were finally cleared of all charges after being wrongly convicted and incarcerated for a 1989 assault and rape in New York City’s Central Park. (The new Gate is also dedicated to 'all who are victims of criminal injustice); Details of The Innocence Project's commemoration - with the unveiling of a gate in Central Park named for them - will be found below - with links to live streaming on Facebook and YouTube.



Tomorrow: December 19, 2002; 11.00 a.m.  ET;

On Central Park North off  5th Avenue or watch on Facebook Live.



GIST: "Tomorrow marks 20 years since the Exonerated Five — Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise — were finally cleared of all charges after being wrongly convicted and incarcerated for a 1989 assault and rape in New York City’s Central Park.

Please join the Innocence Project tomorrow in commemorating the 20th anniversary of their exoneration with the unveiling of a gate in Central Park newly named for New York's exonerated. We’ll be streaming it live on Facebook here and YouTube here.


BACKGROUND: Madame Noire: Reporters Ida Harris and Nahlah Abdur-Rahman.;; December 18m 2022.

GIST: "On Monday, December 19, the unveiling of the Gate of the Exonerated will commence at Central Park on 110th St. in Harlem, New York. The Gate honors and symbolizes those who were wrongfully incarcerated and is supported by numerous government entities and advocacy groups, including NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ Office, Manhattan Community Board 10, The Innocence Project and Justice 4 The Wrongfully Incarcerated. Justice is realized in this initiative.

The project has been a longtime coming and has been in the works since 2019. Community board member Karen Horry recalled working on the project “all through the pandemic” while grieving the loss of her sister to COVID-19. 

“It’s a labor of love,” Horry told MADAMENOIRE. 

”This is vindicating for the community,

“It’s monumental in many ways,

“Here, we’re experience the school to prison pipeline. So many people have been disenfranchised because of dealing with mass incarceration we suffer from here.”

While the Gate of the Exonerated commemorates all who are victims of criminal injustice, it is especially focused on the Exonerated Five—formerly referred to as the Central Park Five—who were charged and wrongfully convicted for the assault and rape of Trisha Meili, a white woman who was attacked while jogging in Central Park on the night of April 19, 1989.

Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam were manipulated by law enforcement and coerced into making guilty confessionals.

The teenage boys later recanted and instead remained steadfast in their innocence. They’ve suffered the consequences of a flawed verdict in the case and we’re imprisoned up to 13 years.

It was not until 2002 that justice was truly served,  when serial rapist and murderer Matias Reyes admitted to the rape and was linked by DNA. 

The heart wrenching story was adapted into a film that displays the lives and unjust trial of five young men in Ava Duvernay’s limited series When They See Us.

Their story—and others— is critical to the fight for racial equality, and the dismantling of corruption within the criminal justice system. 

“Hopefully we are starting the re-education process,” Sharonne Salaam, mother of Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five told MN. “And that people who have been exonerated may be looked at as human beings,  people who were innocent of crimes they did not do, people deserving a chance at life.”

Salaam continued, “people can now admit that there is a systemic problem of innocent people going to jail for crimes they did not do.”

Ori, is aligned with this sentiment: “We need to raise our level of consciousness as a society,” Horry said. “We need to evolve. We’ve come a long way, but as long as these types of injustices continue, we need to have continued dialogues and put remedies in place to correct them …. This commemoration prompts that.”

It is of no consequence that ”NYC has the third-highest wrongful conviction rate,” the Bronx Times reported. According to a 2009 report conducted by the The Innocence Project, New York State has led most states in wrongful convictions, following Texas and Illinois.

 Currently, 3,340 people have been exonerated over the last 33 years, according to National Registry of Exonerations—costing the innocent a collective total of 28,450 years of their lives.

The Gate Of The Exonerated is a sign of reclamation and recognition of innocence. 

It’s an acknowledgment of the stolen years; unfair trials; racial profiling; and broken homes. 

It’s a reminder of what can be accomplished collectively—but also that there is still work to be done. 

“There’s definitely more to come,” said community activist Prince E. Hunt. “We’re in a season of Emancipation Reclamation.”

The commemoration for the wrongfully incarcerated takes place and the Exonerated Five is open to the public,  and takes place on Monday, December 19 at 11AM EST."


PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue/resurce. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;


FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;