The Central Park Five’s innocence was established nearly 15 years ago, but Donald Trump apparently isn’t buying it. The presidential candidate continued to assert his belief that the group, who were wrongly accused and convicted of raping a jogger in 1989 before being exonerated due to DNA evidence (and the actual rapist’s confession) in 2002, were in fact responsible for the crime. In a statement to CNN, Trump — who once took out a full-page ad in the Daily News calling for them to receive the death penalty — said the group “admitted they were guilty.”
Ken Burns and David McMahon, who co-directed the 2012 documentary “The Central Park Five,” were among the many left angered and confused by Trump’s comments. In a joint statement, they said the GOP standard-bearer’s words “are part of his worn-out pattern of denying facts and evidence to promote a perverse alternate reality in which people of color are seen as a threat to America.” Burns later added in a tweet, “Apparently Mr. Trump is unfamiliar with the concept of wrongful conviction.”
Raymond Santana, one of the Central Park Five, also chimed in on Twitter: “What more do we have to prove? I’m tired of proving our innocence! I don’t care what this asshole thinks.” He and the other four men eventually received a $41 million settlement.