The Case of the Central Park Jogger can serve as a laboratory for dissecting the criminalized justice system, and demonstrates how dangerous are provisions of the Patriot Act which are intended to officially sanction the interrogation protocols used in this case.
Lawyers Michael Tariq Warren and Roger Wareham are co-counsels representing three of the defendants: Kevin Richardson, Antoine McCray and Ramon Santana.
Michael Warren: We became involved in this case back in June and decided we would develop the components for the motion to set aside the verdict. On the basis of new evidence that would have materially changed the outcome of the case had it been known at the time of trial. They have yet to respond to it.
There are two vital exhibits in this motion. The first is an affidavit from investigator Earl Rollins, who is also an attorney, detailing what Matias Reyes told him.
There is a second exhibit, a notarized statement from Matias Reyes himself. The statement goes into detail, but in essence it says, ‘I committed the rape and assault of Trisha Meili, known as the Central Park Jogger and I did it alone. I didn’t do it with anybody else, I did it alone.’ That was the essence of his notarized statement.
Essentially what is involved here is this. Back in 1989, these young boys, like many other young boys of color, young men and women of color, were seized upon by experienced, seasoned detectives. Who had twenty to thirty years on the force. Who were second and first grade detectives. Who are a part of what they consider to be the elite group of detectives that comprise the sex crimes unit as well as the Manhattan North Homicide Bureau. They took each one of these boys individually, not collectively, and they involved them in vigorous custodial interrogation. By that I mean, they had them separated from their parents, contrary to the assertions that you hear in some of the newspapers from information leaked by the district attorney’s office. they were separated from their parents for a substantial amount of time, hours. What they do is this. This is the methodology. The methodology is for the detectives to formulate a script. That’s what they did with these young boys, whose ages were fourteen, fifteen and one was sixteen years of age. None of them had ever been arrested before in their lives. So this situation was new to them. It was new to their parents.
So they separated these young boys, didn’t allow their parents to see them, and then swung into action. Not only did the script the internal part of the interrogation process where they asked the questions over and over again. Grilling, grilling grilling. Good cop, bad cop. Good cop, bad cop. The second part of this process was to make each and everyone of them think that they are a witness. That they are a valuable witness and that all they are doing is giving information on the other.
You have to keep in mind that the information is consistent with the script that was given by these detectives and grilled into their heads, over and over again. These young men were not aware of the acting in concert theory of prosecution which means that all of them are prosecuted for doing something. Assisting each other in terms of what the prosecution said they did to Trisha Meili. And then after they make them feel they are a witness, every ten or fifteen minutes or so, what they do is a recycling process. They tell them, “look, it’s going to be alright because you’re going home. You’re telling on the other.’ But they are only telling what they believe the detectives want to hear, because the detectives have already scripted them. At this point, they are trying to please the detectives. Just as many adults would. That’s why so many cases have been reversed these days where people had confessed. Even adults and these were young boys. This process went on for hours and hours. Every fifteen minutes, “You’re going home.” And then the script starts. After they get what they want, then it’s reduced to a written statement. In oft times, as in the case of these young boys, the detectives wrote the statements out themselves. There are terms in these so-called statements that are construed as confessions, that these young boys would not use. These are terms seasoned detectives use. They are the telltale signs. After they get the “confessions” signed, they bring the parents back in for about five minutes as they did here. After that it’s show time. They call in the assistant district attorneys and they start the videos.
The most abominable aspect of this interrogation, was that Linda Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer, the two prosecutors in this case, were an essential part of the interrogation process. They acted as, what we call in the law, co-conspirators, with these seasoned detectives. In committing what we call crimes against these young boys by virtue of seizing, through illegal methods, statement that were clearly improper at the best. Once they got the video tapes, then they announced to the boys and their parents that ‘you are going to be arrested.” They placed them under arrest, read them their Miranda rights and placed them in a holding cell.
There has been a lot of information in the press, again on information from the DA’s office, about the “confessions”. That the confessions were fine because the parents were there and the parents consented. That’s not so. What I have just recounted to you is exactly what took place. Even if that had been so. Even if the confessions were legally permissible, which they were not, the other evidence, the scientific evidence the DNA, the hairs, was lacking.
Not only were the confessions coerced out of these young children and their parents, but the so-called independent evidence that is the two hair follicles that were found on the underwear of Kevin Richardson. Those were not the hair follicles of Trisha Meili, the jogger, as the prosecutors were allowed to argue in court before the jury by judge Galaghan. The blood on the rock, and the follicles on the rock did not belong to Trisha Meili as the prosecutors were allowed to argue by judge Galaghan. And the semen specimen that was taken from Trisha Meili did not match any of these young boys and they knew it at the time. But they were allowed, by this corrupt judge, who was a part of this train, to argue to this jury that they could consider that there was a match. There was no match at all scientifically. There was no identification. The paraded Trisha Meili into court to get the sympathy of the jury. This is how they do it.
Along with that, the racist media was giving a projection totally against these young boys. And totally against children in communities of color. They adversely affected the minds of even our people who did not come out at the time. But there is a God.
Some years later, after Harlan Levy got into legal swaggering and came out with a book about this and came out with damaging admissions, and he was a part of the presecution. He wrote about how Elizabeth Lederer and Linda Fairstein got upset because the scientific evidence did not match and the only thing they had were the confessions to pick out items they could use for the purpose of convicting these boys. Parade the jogger in, include the racist media, that’s a conspiracy.
Along after many years. After these boys had served time in prison. Seven years, Kharey Wise for thirteen years, lo and behold, the man who committed these acts, Matias Reyes, has come forward, has told them how and when he did it and that he did it alone.
The reason the prosecutors were nervous, because the know the confessions, even if not seized illegally and improperly which they were, could not stand legal muster alone. They need an independent source of evidence. Which is why this corrupt judge Gallagher, allowed the prosecution to argue that there was a match of DNA, a match of hair follicles and a match of blood. The DNA to the young boys and the hair follicles to the victim. An outright lie. This motion to set aside the verdict will be heard on Oct. 23rd.
Attorney Roger Wareham
In his invocation Reverend Curtis said we should pray for those who made a mistake, but this was no mistake. There are people in this audience who know the history of our existence in this country and to me it has always been summed up most succinctly by the chief justice of the United States, who, during the Dred Scott Decision, said that “A Negro has no rights which a white man is bound to respect.” That was before the Civil War, but in my view it has never changed. If something happens, particularly if it happens to a white woman. And what happened in the park was a tragedy and a crime, but the knee jerk reaction of this city is that a black guy did it, and it doesn’t matter which one we get. We’ve just got to get one. And that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in now. That’s why those five young men lost most of their teenage years. That’s why their families were separated from them and damaged by this. That’ why we are where we are right now. A black guy did it. That’s all they needed to hear and they didn’t care.
We had a press conference a week ago, when we came out of court. After the eight or nine months the district attorney had already spent, in my view covering up, they say investigate this information they’ve had since January. The press was out just like tonight. One of the press is Mike Sheehan, from channel 5. Before his career as a newscaster, he was very respected member of the homicide division of detectives for the police department. Coincidently, he was one of the detectives when this thing first went down because they thought the jogger was going to die. When you finally hear Reyes, he says, “I thought she was going to die. She was making all the sounds like she was going to die.” And she was dying. She lost 75% of her blood. So the homicide detectives were in on it. Sheehan was part of it. He was part of that crew that got these so-called confessions, and Tariq laid out the method they used to do that. Eventually he was off that case. Reyes was arrested four months later. Four months, not four years. Not in another city. Not in another borough. Arrested for committing a crime on the upper Eastside. A rape. He confessed to a rape and a murder. And it was detective Sheehan who elicited that confession from him.
So at that press conference someone raised to point of why wouldn’t they test his DNA? Because when Reyes was arrested, he confessed to some other rapes. And with DNA samples they were able to make matches. So someone said, “Why wouldn’t they.” and I think anybody, you wouldn’t have to be Columbo to figure it out. You have an unidentified DNA sample in the Rape of the Century, and you have somebody who committed a rape and has confessed to other rapes in the past three months, and one of them is a rape and a murder of a pregnant woman. Why wouldn’t you try to match that person’s DNA to the unidentified sample in Central Park?
If you can answer that question, then you will understand why the district attorney has not finished their investigation. It’s because they have a very, very big problem. Sheehan’s reply, because Mike (Warren) said, “well why don’t you ask Sheehan, he’s standing right there.” His position was just as arrogant as ever. “Well we have confessions. The parents were there.” And all those things that Mike told you. “And that wasn’t Reyes’ M.O. He worked by himself.” Bingo. Reyes “worked by himself.” So now Sheehan has a problem. He has a suspect who confesses to several rapes with the same M.O. who works by himself. Sheehan all participated in getting these false confessions from these five young men. If he matches the DNA, then how do they explain the confessions?
Remember, the confessions were supposed to be valid because ‘they (the young men) gave facts only the perpetrator would know.” That’s how the do it. “Only the perpetrator could have known this.” And the police. They always leave out that part. And the police. So that’s where the script comes from that Michael talks about. There are things in there that only the perpetrator would know, and the police who went and investigated the area, what the person was wearing and all that. And all those facts are fed to these young men. Who are really victims of a form of torture. So that’s the problem they have. They are desperately trying to figure out a way to cover up these false confessions. Their first response is to say ‘well maybe they were all in this together.’ Now their theory of the case was that they all gave each other up. So if they all gave each other up, why would they not give up the one person who left a semen sample at the scene of the crime? Sometimes they really insult our intelligence.
They brought Reyes down to the park. He said “They were giving me all kinds of crap, ‘well maybe they came after I did it, and maybe we were in it together.’ I said ‘I did it myself.’ And Reyes said, “The condition I left that woman in, no one would have touched her.’ He said, “No one would have touched her.” So that knocks that out.
They knew about this in January. To this day, the district attorney’s office has not contacted the families to say, “We have a confession.” The families found out about it in June with everybody else when they saw an article in the newspaper.
But before then, the district attorney’s office and the police department had been by the Richardson home, the McCray home, To just pay a visit to see how everybody was doing. And oh by they way we have a few pictures here we want you to look at. So they lay out a photo array, and in it are the co-defendants. So obviously he knows them, but doesn’t recognize anybody else. Now we weren’t there. So I can’t vouch for the fact that Matias Reyes’ picture was in there. But I think it is real safe bet that Reyes’ picture was in there and they were hoping that Kevin or Antoine were going to say, “I know him.” That didn’t work.
Raymond Santana is upstate on an unrelated crime. All of a sudden they bring him from upstate and put him in the yard with Matias Reyes. That doesn’t work.
The only contact between Reyes and these five young men is with Kharey Wise. They bumped into each other in 1989-90 at Rikers’. They had a beef over a television. The Daily News reported that the beef was over the case. Now I wonder where that idea came from. You can figure it out.
The situation we have is that there is a massive cover up going on but they’re not going to succeed. They cannot succeed. These confessions that they’ve hung their hats on is what’s going to sink them. The confessions will expose how the “criminal justice system” is run by criminals. And if one thing history has taught us in this country it’s that it is not enough for us to be right. Not enough to have justice on our side. It’s not enough that a crime has been committed and there should be some reparations for that crime. If the community is not out in support and force resolution of this issue, it’s not going to happen. We know Clifford Glover, we know Eleanor Bumpers, we know Amadou Diallo. All the cases we know and each one we say, “This time they’re going to be punished.” And every time they walk away. Because we are not able to mobilize and sustain the support necessary to give impetus to what is going on legally. Which is why tonight we are going to enlist your support. Thank you.