*Twenty five years after the Central Park jogger case polarized New York City, the dark chapter appears to be closing with a proposal for the city to pay a $40 million civil rights settlement to the five black and Hispanic men wrongfully convicted in the case, a source with knowledge of the settlement told CNN on Friday.
The horrific beating and rape of a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989, and the arrest of the young men divided the city along racial lines and became emblematic of a state of rampant crime. Five minority teenagers, who became known as the Central Park Five, were coerced amid public uproar into making incriminating statements and convicted in 1990.
The proposed agreement between the city law department and the five men — who served between seven and 13 years in prison — averages about $1 million per year of incarceration, according to the source.
One of the men, Kharey Wise, served 13 years in prison. Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana Jr. each served about seven years.
The proposed settlement still has to be approved by the city comptroller and then submitted for approval to Judge Deborah Batts of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where the men filed their civil rights lawsuit. The source said a formal announcement on the settlement would be made next week. The agreement was first reported in The New York Times.
In a statement Friday, the city comptroller’s office said it had received the agreement.
“As with all proposed settlements, under our Charter-mandated authority, we will do our due diligence and provide feedback to ensure that any settlement we approve is in the best interests of the City,” the statement said.
A civil rights lawsuit filed by the five men accused police and prosecutors of false arrest, malicious prosecution and a racially motivated conspiracy. The administration of former mayor Michael Bloomberg fought the case, but his successor, Bill de Blasio, pledged to settle the suit before taking office.