In 1989, five teenagers were accused of raping 28-year-old Trisha Meili as she jogged in Central Park.
Korey Wise, 16, was the oldest of the group, along with two 15-year-olds, Antron McCray and Yusef Salaam. The youngest were both 14: Kevin Richardson and Raymond Santana.
After their coerced confessions were released to the media, they were vilified in the tabloids. Headlines “Wolf Pack’s Prey,” while people screamed obscenities at them on the streets. “The Central Park Five” were outcasts and sent to prison.
Today, they are in demand with a new brand: “The Exonerated Five.”
The Greater Queens Chapter of The Links honored them over the weekend at Terrace on the Park during a black tie affair.
“I love hip-hop. I love my Grandmaster Flash,” Wise said. “‘It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under’ — that’s my everyday life.”
“One of the greatest things about this story is that as they built the fire to consume us, they forgot the owner of the heat,” Salaam said.
Last spring, the Netflix series When They See Us dramatized their infamous case for a global audience.