Lawyers for the five Harlem teenagers who were imprisoned and later exonerated of the 1989 rape of the Central Park jogger prepared to start a civil case against the city for millions in compensation and punitive damages.
After three hours behind closed doors, lawyers for the city and the plaintiffs met Friday with a federal judge to arrange getting evidence in the case. The key piece will be the testimony of Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and rapist, who confessed to the rape and beating of Central Park jogger Trisha Meili.
Reyes' DNA was found at the crime scene and in 2002, Kharey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson and Raymond Santana were released from prison.
In this case the victim didn't incorrectly identify anyone because she was injured so severely that she had no memory of being raped or beaten.
An element of this civil case which caught my eye is the allegation that Reyes raped other women in Central Park and when those rapes were reported the New York police failed to investigate. Because the police allegedly didn't investigate those rapes, they failed to view Reyes as a suspect for this crime until the DNA test made the link for them.
The same techniques which can lead to false confessions by those suspected of committing violent crimes can be used to get false recantations from real crime victims. This means that bad practices hurt crime victims and those who are wrongly suspected for whatever reason.
I wonder if this alleged failure to investigate happened because the police assumed one or more of those rape victims were making false police reports.
Hat tip: The Gothamist