Five men unfairly convicted of raping a woman in Central Park in 1989 have finally settled a false arrest/imprisonment lawsuit against the City of New York. The five, who became known as “The Central Park Five,” were just teenagers at the time of the crime but were labelled as a “wolf pack” and “wildling” children before and during their trials. All were sentenced to years in prison but in 2002 their convictions were overturned. The men, now adults, have been fighting for monetary compensation for their false imprisonment in New York since their respective releases.
While many news headlines are focusing on the $40 million settlement the men were awarded earlier this month, the real story is that of their incarceration. They were, some have said, railroaded and allegedly suffered police brutality while in custody-reportedly harassed until they confessed to the crime. Additionally, key DNA evidence was suppressed, according to the victims, evidence that could have freed the men years ago.
The City of New York will now pay for its error in a big way. The $40 million award works out to roughly $1 million dollars compensation for each year spent behind bars for each victim. Kharey Wise, who spent the longest time in custody (13 years), will not only be the biggest financial award recipient in out of The Central Park Five but also the biggest recipient of a false imprisonment payout by NYC ever.
This isn’t a typical case. The men were boys at the time of their convictions and they spent years in prison (around seven on average). However, it does illustrate an important point: regardless of how long an individual was in police/corrections custody, they are entitled to compensation for their lost time and dramatically altered lives.
If you or a loved one has been unjustly arrested or detained, contact a qualified false imprisonment lawyer in New York immediately to discuss your case. You could be awarded compensation for hours, days, and years taken from you. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122 to learn your rights.