There are 11 video-taped statements made by young men who participated in the riot and attacks in Central Park on April 19, 1989. These recorded statements have been withheld from public view for more than a dozen years. They are, in their entirety, all here on this site.
Videos #1-#4B are interviews by four of the five young men convicted of participating in the assault and rape of Trisha Meili – named in the media as the Central Park Jogger. Each of the suspects who was under the age of 16 when questioned, was questioned in the presence of a parent or guardian, as required by law. The law does not require an adult to be present when the suspect is 16 or older, and so, two of the suspects who identified themselves as 16 were interviewed without a parent or guardian. Each young man, whether under or over 16 years of age, was advised of his rights as can be seen here on the video recordings, and each young man confirms having been advised of his rights by the police before this stage of the recorded interviews occurred. By viewing each or all of the videos, it is abundantly clear why the trial and appellate courts’ ruling in this case determined that the statements were given voluntarily, and therefore admissible in a court of law. That ruling has never been overturned.
You can make your own decision about the voluntariness of these statements by watching them yourselves. You will see the demeanor of each young man, his tone, his description of the attacks in the park that night – and you will see that a parent or guardian was present for the entire interview, seated beside each young man under the age of 16.
An additional six videos available for viewing here have never been viewed publicly until late last year, when they were posted on the New York City Law Department website.
These additional six young men admit they were together with the Central Park 5 that night, and admit participating and observing all the other attacks that night. Most importantly, the statements of others – whether charged of crimes or not – implicate ANTRON McCRAY, RAYMOND SANTANA, KEVIN RICHARDSON, KHOREY WISE, and YUSEF SALAAM in the brutal violence that occurred on April 19th. None of the others admitted that they were involved in the rape and beating of Trisha Meili – unlike the Five – but their own words corroborate every detail that the Five themselves have stated. They are remarkable in that regard, and in the calm and cool way that each of these young men describe going into Central Park that night to go ‘wilding’ – to beat and rob ordinary citizens who were enjoying their use of the park.
RAYMOND SANTANA, 14, was arrested on Central Park West, within half an hour of the attacks. He was interviewed in the presence of his father – and at times, his grandmother. Santana was also advised of his rights repeatedly. He admitted planning for a bunch of guys to go into the park to ‘rob and beat up people’ (see 2:00), and he identifies by name many of the group of 33 that entered the park at 110th Street. Santana denied involvement with the assault on the homeless man. He described that everyone ran from the northern end of the park to the reservoir and started to attack male joggers. Santana identifies YUSEF SALAAM and described the clothing Salaam’s wore. In great detail, Santana told how the man in the army jacket was jogging slowly when he was thrown down and beaten/punched in the face by JERMAINE ROBINSON, was robbed of his headphone and Walkman, and that then SALAAM tried to cut him with a knife. In his own words, they were trying to “murder the man.” McCRAY hit the male jogger at the reservoir with the iron pipe (see 14:00). Describing the rape and attack of the female jogger, Santana said he saw RICHARDSON struggling with a woman – the female jogger – being helped by LOPEZ – and saw McCRAY was pulling off her clothes. RICHARDSON pulled his pants down to his knees and appeared to be having sex with the female jogger. LOPEZ hit the female jogger in the face or head with a brick. At that point, McCRAY was waiting his turn to mount the woman behind RICHARDSON. SANTANA says, “I was grabbing her legs and titties.” (See 18:00). Santana said he left the area to catch up with his friends. Outside the park, McCRAY used the pipe to jump up and break lightbulbs under construction scaffolding on Central Park West, getting chased by a security guard. Santana saw MONTALVO dispose of the pipe when he ran off as police approached (see 28:00). Santana said he saw SALAAM (tall kid, black skinned, wearing white jacket) also hit Trisha Meili in the head (See 32:00). Santana says the male jogger who was badly beaten had a walkman, but they all left it on the ground instead of stealing it because it was just a radio headset – not good enough for them to steal (see 33:30). Santana ends by admitting he went into the park to beat people up, take their bikes and rob them. Santana also had his own seminal fluid on the inside and outside of his sweatshirt.
KEVIN RICHARDSON, 14, was arrested that night when police responded to 911 calls of violence in the park within half an hour of the attacks. He was on Central Park West when police saw him, and jumped over the wall to go back inside Central Park, where he was apprehended. Richardson was interviewed in the presence of his father, advised of his rights, and told Assistant District Attorney Lederer that he and about 30 other kids went into the park “to beat people up” (see 4:54.34). He admitted to joining in the attack on a homeless man; an attempted attack on tandem bikers; robbing and assaulting the male jogger at the reservoir; and the ‘lady jogger’ (see 5:10.03). Significantly, Richardson describes his 4 co-defendants and others as the assailants participating in these attacks. Richardson actually names ANTRON McCRAY, RAYMOND SANTANA, KHOREY WISE, STEVE LOPEZ, CLARENCE THOMAS, and describes YUSEF SALAAM as “the tall kid with the fade haircut,” using his name – to the prosecutor – for the first time. Richardson had semen, consistent with his claims, on the inside of his clothing.
ANTRON McCRAY, 15, was named by his best friend, Clarence Thomas, as one of the assailants. McCray was interviewed in the presence of both his parents, advised of his rights, and told Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer that he and about 30 other kids went into Central Park on the night of April 19, 1989. He admitted assaulting the female jogger – getting on top of her body and pretending he was raping her (See 1:26.15), and he said ‘the tall black kid” (YUSEF SALAAM) hit her with a black pipe. McCray himself says that he hit a homeless man, chased and tried to catch a couple riding on a tandem biker, and that he used YUSEF SALAAM’S lead pipe to beat the male schoolteacher/jogger. McCray’s clothing was covered in mud, and his semen was found in his underwear by the New York Medical Examiner’s serology lab. The presence of semen is consistent with his claim that he had not penetrated Ms. Meili but had mounted her body and rubbed his penis against her.
KHOREY WISE, 16, was interviewed alone because he was 16 years of age, and the law allows persons of this age to be questioned without parents present. There were two separate interviews and he was advised of his rights repeatedly. In the first one, Wise admits going with 30 others to Central Park – including YUSEF SALAAM, KEVIN RICHARDSON, STEVE LOPEZ, RAYMOND SANTANA, ANTRON McCRAY and ORLANDO ESCOBAR. Lopez told the group it would be violent, and not to name names if caught. The group charged the ‘homeless’ man – “everyone was stomping on him.” LOPEZ AND RICHARDSON were kicking the man when he was on the ground. Then they saw ‘two bikes put together’ (the couple on the tandem bike) and everyone was hitting them, but they rode through it and away. Wise had brought an iron bar from his house with black tape around it from his home – SALAAM had the bar (See 12:55). (See 13:03) Wise says they were running downhill to where the streams and waterfalls are (this area is not visible from the roadway – it is where Trisha Meili’s body was later found).
(see 13:09). Wise described that LOPEZ, RICHARDSON, and SANTANA jumped a woman. Wise said he didn’t see it, but he heard her screaming. Wise blames the rape of the female jogger on those three, without implicating himself or Salaam. The next day, SALAAM told Wise that the pipe/bar had blood all over it and he had used it to ‘bust’ the face of the male jogger. Wise denied participating in the rape, although he admitted seeing Meile’s body.
KHOREY WISE asked to make a second statement one hour and fifteen minutes after the first interview. He was advised of his rights, a second time, on tape. By this second interview, Wise, had learned from the detectives that SALAAM, who was arrested with him just hours earlier, has implicated Wise. So he changed his statement. He admitted kicking the homeless man, who was on the ground. He named SALAAM as the kid who used the pipe/bar to strike the army-jacketed male jogger at the reservoir. He named RICHARDSON, SANTANA, and LOPEZ as starting “a little rape.” Wise denied penetrating Meile, but says he was “playing with her legs” while SALAAM touched her breasts. “This is my first rape,” Wise said (See 15:23). Wise said that SAALAAM was laughing, but Wise says that he felt bad. At 15:32, Wise says that the group went to the park “for trouble – that’s what they wanted. I guess I wanted it, too.” He was asked if he was “forced” to say any of this. He said no and admitted he was there voluntarily.
These are the six other young men, as stated above, who participated in the rampage in Central Park with the five above on that night.
STEVE LOPEZ, 15, was interviewed in the presence of his father. Note not only his calm – as all the young men are, but how he corrects the prosecutor when she misstates a fact or description. Lopez admitted that he was in front of his building when SANTANA showed up and said it would be fun to go to the park and bother some people. Lopez said Santana counted more than 30 kids in the group. He described the group trying to ‘jump’ the bikers, and how they (especially ROBINSON and McCray) knocked the homeless man down and “pounded on him” until he was out cold. Lopez described running to the transverse road – exactly where Meili was attacked – with every one of the CP5 specifically: McCRAY, SANTANA, RICHARDSON, SALAAM and WISE. After that, he said that SALAAM had a kitchen knife and tried to cut a male jogger. The 4th male jogger (wearing the army jacket) was hit repeatedly by SALAAM, on his head and back, with the iron pipe/bar. “YUSEF was going to work on him – hitting him on the head with the pipe,” while SANTANA hit the same man on his leg with a branch (see 3:57). Lopez denied having anything to do with the female jogger, even though the others describe him as a participant. (Lopez pleaded guilty to Robbery before his trial was set to begin in State Supreme Court) and served time in state prison.
CLARENCE THOMAS, 14, was arrested when he jumped the wall and ran back into Central Park, with KEVIN RICHARDSON, as police arrived on Central Park West. In the patrol car, Thomas started crying and said to police, “I didn’t do the murder, but I know who did.” (34:50). Since police had not yet discovered the body of the female jogger, they thought Thomas was referring to the male jogger wearing the army jacket (and later identified as a New York City school teacher), because he had suffered such severe head injuries, had been robbed, and was so badly beaten. It is THOMAS who told the police to get his best friend, ANTRON McCRAY, because McCray committed the murder. Then he said Richardson told the same officers exactly where McCray lived. Thomas was interviewed in the presence of his mother and was advised of his rights. He described YUSEF SALAAM hitting the male jogger in the army jacket from behind with a steel pipe (21:34) – fourteen inches long and wrapped in black tape, and Salaam laughing that they had ‘kicked his ass” when they finished beating him up (25:12). Thomas’ mother interrupts him from time to time to correct him describing which street he was on. Thomas claims it was Steve Lopez who said “let’s go get a woman jogger” (28:44). Thomas denied participating in the rape of Trisha Meile, despite being asked several times and despite being named by McCray as being there. He was never charged with rape – since he never admitted his participation in that part of the riot.
LAMONT McCALL, 13, was interviewed in the presence of his mother and advised of his rights. He told the prosecutor that he went to the park with MICHAEL BRISCOE and RAYMOND SANTANA – then joined up with CLARENCE THOMAS, McCRAY, RICHARDSON, LOPEZ and AL MORRIS. McCall denied seeing the homeless man and the tandem bikers. He also described running after male joggers at the reservoir, including the one who escaped the group, asking if they wanted to race. He said other males were being assaulted by the guys from Schomburg Houses (SALAAM , WISE and RICHARDSON), and also said that group “caught a lady” (See 9:48) – and were punching and beating her up. McCall’s MOTHER tells him to tell Lederer what he had told her – that when he caught up, Meili was naked and LOPEZ was between her legs. Someone gave McCRAY the iron pipe/bar. McCall ran out of the park, but was caught by the police as he did.
JOMO SMITH, 15, was interviewed in the presence of his mother and advised of his rights. Smith named RAYMOND (SANTANA) as the kid running the group and identified by name other kids who rioted: JERMAINE ROBINSON, RAMSEY SMITH (his brother), TERENCE CAMPBELL and a group of others. They were going into Central Park “to go beat up people.” (See 7:45). Smith named JERMAINE ROBINSON as the person who first attacked (“clotheslined”) the homeless man (they also call this victim the bum and the drunk) and knocked him down. Smith said he saw the group of kids he had come into the park with try to knock the tandem bikers off their bike and said they scattered when they heard police siren. Smith said he watched them punch a male jogger in the face and on his arms; try to rob another male jogger who got away and that members of the group taunted one male runner by saying, “Do you want to race?” (This is important because he and others tell this story to the police and prosecutors days before that man ever came forward to describe this attack!). According to Smith, the group beat up the next male jogger – including YUSEF SALAAM, whom Smith described by his haircut and initials ‘carved’ into the hair. He claims he never saw a female jogger, never participated in any of the other attacks – although he observed them all – and ran out of the park with his brother, Ramsey.
MICHAEL BRISCOE, 17, was advised of his rights and interviewed without his guardian (grandmother) because the law allows questioning of individuals above the age of 16. He was given the opportunity to call his grandmother before the interview, but said he would wait until after it ended. Briscoe admitted meeting up in Taft Houses on the night of the attacks with SANTANA and names many others. The day before, at school, SANTANA reminded him about going “wilding” on the 19th – meaning to hit people and “beat up on them” in Central Park (see 4:50). The group included SALAAM, RICHARDSON, McCRAY and many others already named, and were counted by SANTANA. The first person they encountered was a Hispanic man, whom they were going to beat up, but one of the group knew him and told the others not to. “Why were you going to beat him up?” Briscoe was asked. “Just to be beating him up.” (See 7:00). Briscoe said police starting driving into the park, so the group ran – repeatedly splitting up and re-gathering. Then he described attacks on male joggers running around the reservoir. SANTANA threw a rock and hit the first man in the head, and SALAAM pulled out a knife and sliced him or at him. (See 14:20).
Then a second jogger passed, but THOMAS could not catch up with him. A third man came by after everyone had hidden behind bushes. McCRAY jumped out and yelled ‘Surprise”, and hit him with the iron pipe that he and THOMAS had been passing back and forth. SANTANA hit the man with a stick. The fourth jogger (wearing the army jacket) was moving slowly and the group thought he might be a cop. ROBINSON punched him in the face, and when he fell down, SALAAM, McCRAY, and THOMAS helped beat him up – according to what Robinson told Briscoe, who claims to have already left (See 19:30). Briscoe said he ran out of the park (See 20:45). He repeatedly denied having seen the female jogger or knowing anything about the assault on her. Briscoe pleaded guilty to Assault and was sentenced to state prison.
ANTONIO MONTALVO, 18, was arrested six months after the riot and attacks in Central Park, on October 3, 1989. He was questioned alone as the law permits for suspects over the age of 16. After being advised of his rights on video, Montalvo said that ‘everybody was going wilding that night’ and explained that wilding means to go as a group and beat people up. Montalvo said that RAYMOND SANTANA had the idea to go wilding earlier that day at school, and spread the word that people should meet up at the Taft Housing Project at 8pm.
See 4:00-8:00). Among the people Montalvo named were SANTANA, KEVIN RICHARDSON, ANTRON McCRAY, KHOREY (AKA POLO) WISE, YUSEF SALAAM, “T-BONE”, Al (MORRIS), TROY …”, JERMAINE ROBINSON, LAMONT McCALL, and ORLANDO ESCOBAR. Montalvo said when they reached Central Park SANTANA counted about 35 people in the group. They went on to try to attack a solo biker (everyone laughing at the potential victim), and then saw the “bum.” ROBINSON knocked down the bum, and Montalvo said ‘everybody” (about ten people) were kicking him, including Montalvo himself. Then Montalvo took the bum’s bag of hot food, sat on a wall and ate it while the others continued to beat on the older man. He described seeing the tandem bikers, and said the group lined up on both sides of the road and one kid yelled out “Push them off and beat them up”, grabbing at their clothing – although the man and woman biked on through the gang (see 36:00). Montalvo said a group crossed the transverse road and went over to the reservoir and started chasing and attacking male joggers. RICHARDSON, he said, punched one of the men in the face because he didn’t have any money. Montalvo saw another male jogger hit with a “black pipe” – he is not sure by whom – and then McCRAY struck the same man with a stick (see 50:00). Then he and Briscoe (whom he nicknames BOOGIE BLIND) ran out of the Park on Central Park West. He passed a young man whom he wanted to beat up, but stopped because he saw police officers. Under the scaffolding of a building on Central Park West, he described SANTANA and McCRAY using the steel pipe to break light bulbs at the construction site. (1:00:00) (Police and prosecutors returned to that site, confirmed that the light bulbs had been broken, and photographed the scene). McCRAY tried to give the pipe to Montalvo, who wouldn’t take it because he was afraid his fingerprints might be on it. When police arrived and ordered the kids to stop,
Montalvo ran away, and went on a subway ride with one of his friends, kicking windows out of an empty car on the train (See 1:12:06). At the end, ADA Lederer asked Montalvo why he went into the park. His answer was “to go wilding…to beat people up.” He told her it wasn’t fun because they didn’t beat people badly enough. Montalvo denied knowing anything about the rape of the female jogger. He pleaded guilty to Attempted Robbery in the First Degree and served time in state prison.