American Hypocrisy: The Central Park 5, North Carolina Travesty, And Ray Rice Backlash

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Mayor de Blasio -- so New York City paid $41 million due to kindness?

Last week, around the same time half-brothers Henry McCollum and Leon Brown were being released from a North Carolina prison, the Central Park Five were finally awarded financial recompense for the many years they spent incarcerated after being railroaded by a criminal justice system that has been at war with Black people for generations.

The City of New York agreed to pay these men $41 million as reparative compensation for the injustice that was done to them by police officers in the New York Police Department (NYPD) and by prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. But since no wrongdoing—by either police, or, prosecutors—was admitted to, haven’t the powers that be deligitimized the integrity of New York City’s criminal justice system by refusing to hold those responsible for the wrongful arrest and prosecution of these Black men?

Will we see something different in the North Carolina case of Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, or, will no one be held accountable in that outrage as well?

The $41 million settlement that was awarded to the Central Park Five was a long time coming. The five men were convicted as teens in 1990 of raping then 28-year-old Wall Street investment banker Trisha Meilli who was jogging through Central Park on the night of April, 19 1989.

After an “investigation,” by members of the NYPD, five Black and Latino teens --Kharey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana Jr. -- were quickly focused on as the “perps” even though the real perpetrator, Mathias Reyes, around this same time was busy raping other women in the same manner.

NYPD officers and prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office wasted no time in charging these Black and Brown boys with the vicious rape and assault of Ms. Meilli—even though there was no real evidence connecting them to the crime.

Many in the narcissistic New York media prosecuted these teens in their publications and during this time the term “wilding” was introduced. And, publicity-seeking scoundrel Donald Trump took out full-page advertisements arguing for a reinstatement of the death penalty. The New York media also printed and published the photos, names and addresses of these teens—but decided that it would be unfair to publicize the name of Ms. Meilli.

Given all of this, and the racist nature of what many of these people call “justice” in America, it was no surprise these poor Black and Brown kids never stood a chance. They were offered up as sacrificial lambs on the bigoted bloody altar of American justice to satisfy those who give lip-service about “law and order,”—nothing more than a coded phrase which means 'you better keep those Black beasts in line.'

Some have rightly likened the Central Park Five Case to that of the 1931 Alabama Scottsboro Boys Case—where nine Black boys were accused, and faced multiple trials, over many years, with most serving sentences based on false charges of allegedly raping two White women.

Ironically, the Central Park Five case is also like the North Carolina Case of Henry McCollum and Leon Brown—because of the manner in which the police and prosecutors ran roughshod over the rights of these two brothers. Like the Central Park Five these men had to face fierce deceitful police interrogators, who used threats and terror tactics to scare vulnerable boys who found themselves caught in the web of corruption that is America’s justice system.

Forced coerced confessions were the only “evidence” that convicted all of these boys. It’s long been established that the NYPD cops who interrogated the Central Park Five did so for many hours. Police apparently lied about “evidence” they didn’t have. We know the NYPD had not one thread of DNA evidence to connect these kids to the crime. In the North Carolina case of Mr. McCollum and Mr. Brown that was also the case—and they, like the Central Park Five, were convicted basically on the weight of these tainted “confessions.”

Both McCollum and Brown reportedly suffered from intellectual disabilities—so they were easy prey for ambitiously predatory police and prosecutors, out to make names for themselves. And since Blacks have been designated to be the primary suspect criminal class, it’s a win-win situation for these unscrupulous cops and prosecutorial “officers of the court.” The Central Park Five, as poor Black and Latino teens, were sitting ducks going up against sly foxes in the NYPD and D.A.’S office.

There must be notes and documents incriminating police and prosecutors somewhere.

How many more Blacks—in New York, and across America—do you think are languishing in prisons, right now, because of police and prosecutorial outrages like these two cases?

The City of New York is telling us, although they will now recompense the Central Park Five to the tune of $41million, that “no wrongdoing” whatsoever occurred in this case. Who do they think they’re fooling? The $41 million is just being given because of benevolence on the part of New York City?

Clearly, the police and prosecutors—while advancing their careers— railroaded these teens. After all, who cares about poor Black and Brown boys. The operative logic, after all, is -- if they didn’t commit this crime they would eventually be committing crimes later anyway.

More importantly, these police and prosecutors know they have the blessings of the “law and order” higher-ups and of a large segment of White America when they engage in these perverse acts of criminalizing Black people.

What the City of New York is saying here is this: we will not allow the Central Park Five to receive ultimate justice. Are they telling us not one person on the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office knew these “confessions” were bogus?

Do they really expect Black and Brown people to respect a “justice” system which makes it clear police and prosecutors will never face serious consequences for fraudulently arresting, prosecuting, convicting and locking us away for decades?

The unjust hypocrisy of many White Americans regarding the brutal conduct of police toward Black people is breathtaking.  For, example many are now supposedly filled with moral indignation after seeing the tape of NFL player Ray Rice punching out his then girlfriend in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Sixteen U.S. Senators released a letter this week condemning NFL president Roger Goodell's handling of the Ray Rice case.

But the outrage against those who abuse women is very selective.

Why is it many of these same people remained stunningly silent after seeing video of 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock being beaten silly by a California Highway officer? Where was the righteous rage when Rosan Miller—a pregnant Brooklyn woman—was put in a chokehold for the awful crime of cooking food on the sidewalk outside her home?

And why didn’t these caring people utter one single word against Arizona Officer Stewart Ferrin who body-slammed Professor Ersula Ore to the ground, because—like Michael Brown—she was guilty of jaywalking in the street?

Why is it atrocious for Ray Rice to abuse his girlfriend, but, alright for a “law enforcement” officer to administer vicious beat-downs against Black women? Shouldn’t police be held to a higher standard? If police and prosecutors are allowed to violate the rights of people, doesn’t that undermine the integrity of their criminal justice system?

But alas, America’s criminal justice has never been about justice. It’s about glory-seeking police and prosecutors gaining wins at the expense of the future of others and people’s lives, especially Black people.

If this system was really about justice those men and women who stole the innocence of the Central Park Five children would not be allowed to escape punishment for the actions they took that robbed the childhood of those who were forced to grow up into manhood on America’s prison plantations.

Will officials in North Carolina make Henry McCollum and Leon Brown wait decades—like the Central Park Five—for the kind of “justice” the City of New York just issued?



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