More than 30 years after being imprisoned for a violent crime they didn't commit, a group of five Black and Latino men will have a gate in Central Park named in their honor, The New York Times reported Monday.
The gate, which will be known as the "Gate of the Exonerated," will pay tribute to the five men who were convicted of assaulting and raping a white woman in the park in 1989. They would eventually become known as the Central Park Five, and their trials captivated both New York City and the nation.
The five men received sentences ranging from five to 15 years. Following a series of unsuccessful appeals to their convictions, the men were finally exonerated in 2002 after a serial rapist confessed to the crime.
While the five men would eventually win a $41 million settlement from the city, questions have remained as to how the justice system could have gotten the case so wrong. In the years since the five's release, officials have made efforts to apologize and try to make up for the error, with the Gate of the Exonerated representing the latest bid to do so.
Yusef Salaam, one of the five, said the gate would serve as a form of vindication.
"Every time people go by the gate and remember what happened here, even after we are gone, our story will enlighten people," Salaam told the Times.
The Times noted that the gate "is a rare instance of a municipality formally memorializing its colossal mistake."