Trump Still Thinks the Central Park Five Are Guilty

If you haven’t already watched the movie, The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, I highly recommend it to you. To recap the story, back in 1989 a white woman was brutally raped in Central Park. Five teenagers (four African American and one Latino) were charged with the crime. They were convicted primarily based on interrogations that were later determined to be coercive, and sentenced to prison. Eventually the actual rapist confessed and his DNA was matched with that found at the crime scene. The five teenagers were exonerated and eventually won a $40 million settlement from the City of New York.

Donald Trump was extremely vocal about the case almost from day one. Before the five teenagers were even tried, he took out a full-page ad calling for reinstatement of the death penalty. Trump demonstrated how little he actually understands about how our Constitution works with statements like this in the ad: “Criminals must be told that their CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS!” (caps are his.) No Donald. Civil liberties aren’t stripped from Americans just because someone like you decides to label them “criminals.” Our courts are specifically designed to make that call. But in Trump’s mind, he had already tried and convicted these young men that he called “crazed misfits,” and he desperately wanted to see them suffer. It doesn’t take much to imagine Trump, in days past, going after these young men dressed in white sheets and carrying a rope.

Then, in 2014 when the City of New York reached its settlement with the Central Park Five, Trump once again expressed his outrage, this time in an editorial where he called it “a disgrace” and wrote:

Speak to the detectives on the case and try listening to the facts. These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels.

One can only deduce that young men of color – much like women – are either angels or criminals in Trump’s mind.

That is all in the past. You might wonder what Trump has to say about the case right now. CNN’s Miguel Marquez asked him yesterday.

The Central Park 5 were exonerated, and in 2014, New York paid them a $41 million settlement.

But Trump still is not buying their innocence.

“They admitted they were guilty,” Trump said this week in a statement to CNN’s Miguel Marquez. “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous.

Here is CNN’s report on that:

What I found most interesting in that segment is this statement from Michael D’Antonio (author of “The Truth About Trump”):

He’s not a person who takes in new information and then adjusts and accepts reality. The only reality that matters to him is his judgement, which was rendered many years prior.

Beyond the blatant racism and complete disregard of the Constitution, that is why Donald Trump is unfit to be president.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .