Exonerated Central Park 5 members lobby for bill barring police from lying to suspects
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Three of the men who became known as the Central Park Five after they were imprisoned and later exonerated for a brutal 1989 beating and rape are reportedly lobbying for a state measure that would outlaw some of the police tactics that led to their wrongful convictions.

“Nearly 30 years ago, we were imprisoned for a brutal crime we did not commit, and collectively spent decades behind bars for it," Kevin Richardson and Yusef Salaam, who are lobbying for the measure along with Kory Wise, said in a statement to the New York Daily News.


“At the heart of the circumstances that conspired to strip us of our freedom and forever change the trajectory of our lives were false confessions,” they added.

According to the Daily News, a proposal from state Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D) would prohibit police from lying or presenting false evidence to suspects to elicit confessions. Police have admitted to lying during the high-profile case, including a detective who admitted in 1990 that he told Salaam his fingerprints were found on the victim’s jogging shorts.

The measure comes after New York’s Court of Appeals ruled in 2014 that police are free to mislead suspects as long as they are not “patently coercive” in their tactics.

“The NYPD has repeatedly voiced its support for criminal justice reform, but maintains that such reform must be done carefully, and with the inclusion of law enforcement professionals,” NYPD Sgt. Frances Mary O’Donnell said. “To do otherwise is irresponsible and poses a threat to public safety.”

Rebecca Brown, the Innocence Project’s direct of policy, said the new measure would ban an unethical practice.

“The legislative proposal would ban the use of false facts; in other words law enforcement can not knowingly communicate false facts to people in the interrogation room,” Brown told the Daily News.

Myrie's legislation also includes a measure that would mandate allowing children under 18 to consult with an attorney before they could be interrogated. All five teens in the Central Park Five case were interrogated without an attorney or parents present, and Richardson, Antron McCray and Raymond Santana all made video statements without a lawyer present.

“Had the Exonerated Five had a right to counsel, their lives may be different today,” State Sen. Jamaal T. Bailey (D) said, according to the Daily News. “For the many young people who get accused of crimes they did not commit, this law could change their lives as well.”