When Ava Duvernay released, “When They See Us” she brilliantly told the story of the “Central Park Five”. Young men who were wrongfully convicted of rape. Between the five young men they collectively spent 5 to 15 years behind bars. Their confession and conviction have stirred up strong emotions and feelings on both sides. Even though, Matias Reyes confessed to the crime and provided details that only the rapist would know. While the prosecution and NY police department insist that Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, and Dr. Yusef Salaam are guilty due to their coerced confessions. The court of public opinion can finally see how the odds are stacked against brown and black young men all over America and unfortunately this story is not unique it has just been well publicized.
Recently David Robinson a Missouri man was released from prison after serving 18 years for a crime that he did not commit. He was arrested with a similar story to the now Exonerated Five, there was no physical evidence that connected him to the crime, and he was accused of killing a woman. A paid police informant helped pin this crime on Robinson. For years people were saying the confession was on tape or he told his cellmate he was guilty all the while he maintained his innocence. The police have a confession from the actual murder who described in detail of exactly how the murder was committed in 2004. The actual killer’s name was Romanze Mosby he would later commit suicide. The paid police informant when on later to say that he was paid $2,500 in cash to say that Robinson killed Ms. Box. Also, it was found out the person he allegedly confessed to never shared a cell with him. So, why with all the evidence pointing to the fact Robinson did not commit the murder did he remain in prison after applying for multiple appeals. Finally, in 2018, his appeal was heard by the Missouri Supreme Court and he was released.
Why is it so easy for our justice system in America to write off young black and brown men especially when they proclaim their innocence? Is it a natural fear of young black adolescents because they are not viewed as young kids by society? Or worst, is there a deeper darker criminal link that would involve profiting off young brown and black men while they are serving time in prison. In the United States Prisoners generate anywhere from $31,000/ yr. to $60,000/ yr. Alarming that even though blacks only make up less than 13% of the population in America black males account for more than half of the prison population. While there are people that have committed crimes there is an overwhelming number of cases where these juveniles were treated as they were guilty when they were innocence the whole time. In these cases, they are minority men who start out with a strike against them because they are apart of a minority and with being in jail no matter how innocence they will always be looked as guilty of something.
There is no amount of money that the state of New York or Missouri can give these gentleman for them to get their lives back along with their innocence. What can be done to prevent cases like these from happening today and in the future? First, educate the youth explain to them their Miranda Rights and what it actually means to remain silent, second under no circumstances should they speak to the police with out a lawyer or a parent or guardian present, and lastly no matter what the police may say to get a confession if the child is insist they that have no knowledge of the crime believe them.