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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Members of Exonerated Five support BLM street mural at Trump Tower

Video from the event shows Mayor de Blasio and Rev. Al Sharpton both helping to paint as supporters chant ‘Black Lives Matter.’

Members of the Exonerated Five, formerly known as the Central Park Five, were reportedly on hand last week during the announcement about the planned Black Lives Matter street mural outside of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.

“When I look at current-day events, I can’t help but think about tragedies I was made aware of going through my own personal event,” said Yusef Salaam, one of the five Black and Hispanic teens who were falsely accused in 1989 of of raping Trisha Meili, a white woman jogging in Central Park, theGrio previously reported.

Known collectively as the Central Park Five, Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise spent between six and 13 years in prison for the crime, despite a lack of witnesses or DNA evidence. 

Read More: Exonerated ‘Central Park Park’ men receive joyful praise and standing ovation at BET Awards

The men were exonerated in 2002 after a convicted murderer and rapist confessed to the crime. 

“Not too many things have changed since 30 years ago,” said Richardson, who lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters. “There’s still this concept that people of color are inferior and when you see them you’re scared.”

At the height of the criminal case in the late 80’s, Trump took out a full-page ad in several newspapers in NYC that called for the execution of the Central Park 5. Trump’s message was headlined: “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!”

“It’s basically saying we should be executed without even knowing us as people, not knowing our families, our background,” Richardson said in an interview with Yahoo.

“We became almost the modern-day Emmett Till’s when you look at what Donald Trump placed in the papers two weeks after we were accused of this horrific crime,” said Salaam.

“You have to remember they had put our phone numbers, names and addresses in New York City newspapers, so what that means is that when he put that out there other people took it as a nod that it was OK that if we got a chance to get our hands on these people, we should do what they did to Emmett Till to us.”

The Central park Five have since become outspoken advocates for criminal justice reform, and some members made time to be present last week during Mayor de Blasio’s announcement about the planned BLM street mural, per NBC Washington. The mural was painted in front of Trump Tower on July 9,

Read More: Ava DuVernay slams Michael Bloomberg’s ‘non-answers’ pertaining to Central Park Exonerated Five

“We’re looking at a president who’s telling the different municipalities to militarize their police,” Salaam told Yahoo News. “We haven’t moved.”

Meanwhile, after the mayor decided that the pavement in front of Trump Tower was the perfect spot to display a bold, bright message to the president, Trump slammed it as a “symbol of hate.”

“Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!” Trump tweeted in response. 

Video from the street mural event outside Trump tower shows the mayor and Rev. Al Sharpton both helping to paint the letter “L” in lives as supporters chant “Black Lives Matter.”

“Our city isn’t just painting the words on Fifth Avenue. We’re committed to the meaning of the message,” de Blasio tweeted Thursday.

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The post Members of Exonerated Five support BLM street mural at Trump Tower appeared first on TheGrio.

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