By Maggie Nelson | The New York Times
In the wake of the 1989 rape and near-fatal beating of a 28-year-old white woman named Trisha Meili (known to many as the Central Park jogger), and after the arrests, confessions and eventual convictions of one Latino and four African-American teenagers for the crime, the media relentlessly asked: How did this happen? In her slim but ambitious book, “The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding,” Sarah Burns tackles this same question, but with a changed referent. “This,” rather than signifying a horrific gang rape in New York City’s bucolic backyard, here signifies a preventable miscarriage of justice that put five Harlem teenagers behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit. Each of the boys — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise and Raymond Santana Jr. — served between 7 and 13 years. Their convictions were vacated in 2002 by the New York State Supreme Court, after a confession and DNA analysis linked a serial rapist, Matias Reyes, to the crime.
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