I am a 50 year old mother of 4. I remember this case all too well...I had a 13 year old son at the time and I have gone through the many trials and tribulations of raising a child, especially a boy, in New York City. I remember the day like it was yesterday. The papers were ruthless...news and radio was just as bad. And although none of the reports seemed to make any sense, and there was no proof, visible to the naked eye that they did it, they were going to be tried and convicted! I knew this for sure! I yelled and screamed at the T.V., Radio and newspapers...I tried to have an honest discussion about the facts of the case as well as the DNA results that exonerated each and every one of those boys...but people were either mad or ashamed and we left those boys out to dry.
I had my own problems trying to raise my son in Harlem. No matter what the statistics say about how good we had it back then...It was far worse than today. When you sent your son out to play...there was a fifty-fifty chance he'd make it back home without a hitch of some sort.
When my second son was 13 years old, he was involved in an incident in school. Two boys had attacked an emotionally challenged girl in their class. I received a call from a teacher who seemed to be almost in tears at the thought of what she was trying to explain to me. My son was said to have attacked this girl so badly that the girl could not even speak to explain what had happened. I had to put down everything and head to the school...I could not believe the allegation! My son was not like that! Never had he had an incident in school unless someone was attacking him. It seemed impossible but I was going to get to the bottom of it...chips land where they may. Two of my son's classmates said that my son had attacked this girl and no one else. My son told me that it was not true and that he had tried to help the girl. I was in for the fight of my life. To make a long story short...the young lady composed herself enough to explain that the other two classmates were the one's who attacked her and that my son had tried to help.
I can not tell you what the feelings were like. I felt shell shocked! If this young lady had not come forward, my son would have been blamed for something he did not do. Worst of all...this was a special class that was suppose to help my son because the school did not have a special class to help kids with effects of lead poisoning. So instead, he was put into a class with emotionally disturbed kids. So what was he guilty of? Association! He was forced to associate with the classmates that blamed him for this crime. This is where the school system told him he had to be placed. But offered no security. I felt so bad for the young lady, but I was so happy when she finally spoke out. It exonerated my son...it exonerated me!
But whatever happened...it was nothing compared to what these boys and their parents went through.
In 2003, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana Jr., and Antron McCray sued the city for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination and emotional distress. As of early 2013, the suit is yet to be settled. The city is refusing to settle the suits, citing the "confessions that withstood intense scrutiny, in full and fair pretrial hearings and at two lengthy public trials". Whatever that means! I always felt that the boys did not do it. But when the DNA results came in...Because if you asked an illiterate at the time with the evidence they had...
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