The "Central Park Five" (The Exonerated Five): Background information when reading Punching the Air

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Punching the Air

by Yusef Salaam, Ibi Zoboi

Punching the Air by Yusef Salaam, Ibi Zoboi X
Punching the Air by Yusef Salaam, Ibi Zoboi
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2020, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 7, 2021, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Bintrim
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About this Book

The "Central Park Five" (The Exonerated Five)

This article relates to Punching the Air

Yusef Salaam speaking in Union Square On the night of April 19, 1989, several dozen teen boys went into New York City's Central Park as a loose group. Early on the morning of April 20, Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old white investment banker, was found in the park; she had been raped and badly beaten. She remained in a coma for two weeks and retained no memory of the attack.

Amid media outcry over Meili's attack and under pressure to solve the case, the police linked the two events, and soon arrested five of the boys who had been at the park that night: Antron McCray (15), Kevin Richardson (15), Yusef Salaam (15), Raymond Santana (14) and Korey Wise (16). Dubbed the "Central Park Five" by the media, the boys, all Black or Latino, were subjected to hours of intense interrogation, during which they implicated themselves in the attack. According to Salaam, they were held for more than 24 hours without food or sleep. They all later recanted their statements, saying that their confessions had been coerced.

The boys were ...

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