korey wise central park 5

Korey Wise of the Central Park 5’s Coerced Interview

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One of the most disturbing interviews of the Central Park 5 was that of  Korey Wise. The stories of each of the Central Park Five are tragic. In 1989, the teenagers were persuaded into confessing to a horrifying rape in the city’s famous park, and were later falsely convicted despite a lack of physical evidence. But while the four less mature boys, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, and Raymond Santana, served their time in juvenile centers before being transferred to adult jails at age 21, just one of the boys served both the lengthiest and harshest sentence. The eldest, 16-year-old Korey Wise.

Wise Makes a Trip with a Friend

In the immediate aftermath of the attack on Trisha Meili, the jogger who was brutally attacked, police brought together a many black and Latino youths fitting a certain description. Korey Wise’s friend Yusef Salaam was called in for questioning, so he decided to follow with Yusef for support. One of the needs for a criminal defense lawyer.
The police then chose to interrogate Wise, putting him in a position where he was uniquely vulnerable. He was the only one of the five aged over 15 meaning that he may be interrogated by police without a parent or guardian present. He also had to deal with hearing problems and learning difficulties, rendering it easier for him to get pressured, coerced and manipulated.

Police Interrogate and Abuse Korey Wise

Police cross-examined Wise throughout the dead of night until he produced four different statements, two written and two video confessions. The videos particularly result in an extremely uncomfortable viewing experience. The information Korey Wise offered did not match the facts of the case, but the desperate prosecution, spearheaded by Assistant Prosecutor Linda Fairstein, of very recent controversy, went ahead and pursued his conviction, along with that of McCray, Richardson, Salaam and Santana.

After Korey’s sentencing, Wise’s age also meant that he was the only one of the five who did not head to a juvenile center. Instead, the teenager was sent to Rikers Island, where he experienced horrific violence and abuse, along with lengthy periods of time in solitary confinement during his 11.5 years behind bars.

It was directly from prison that he discovered that Marci Wise, his transgender sister who was removed from the family home for putting on women’s clothes, had been murdered.

In 2001 at the Auburn Correctional Facility Wise met Matias Reyes, a serial rapist and murderer that admitted to assaulting Trisha Meili back in 1989. This chance encounter with the rapist and murderer brought on a confession brought about the five being exonerated after being released from prison in 2002.

The following year the Central Park 5 sued New York City for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination and emotional distress, with the case being settled for $44 million in 2014. Kori Wise now dwells in New York City as a criminal justice activist and in 2016 he donated $190,000 to the University of Colorado Innocence Project to help others who have been wrongfully convicted.

Kori Wise of the Central Park 5 is Not Alone

Kori Wise of the Central Park 5 is not alone. The American criminal justice system has a long and illustrious period of incarcerating black men in the antebellum south, or the years after slavery ended for being a black man accused of sexual assault.