When Donald Trump Didn't Need Proof


In 1989 Donald Trump took out a full page ad in four New York City newspapers calling for the execution of the alleged rapists in the infamous Central Park Jogger case. Never mind that the five alleged assailants were all minors, or that rape wasn't a capital crime. There was a moral panic to be stoked.

And stoked it was. New York's media parted with their tradition of not publishing the names of minors accused of crimes. The case gave us the term "wilding", described at the time as the name violent youth gangs gave their sprees of crime and terror, but which was most likely the result of an NYPD detective who misunderstood the lyrics to a Tone L?c song. The case made national headlines, and fueled the growing myth of the super-predator, in which the law-and-order crowd terrified white suburbia with tales of a rising class of young, black uber-criminals. The explosion in violent juvenile crime predicted by the likes of William Bennett and John DiIulio, Jr. never happened.

If Trump had his way, all of the Central Park Five would have been dead by 2002. That's the year Matias Reyes, already in prison for rape and murder, confessed to the crime, and insisted he acted alone. DNA tests had already confirmed that only one person raped victim Trisha Meili. Further testing showed Reyes was that person. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morganthou later vacated the convictions of the other five suspects, all of whom had already served their sentences for the attack.

Now, one of the wrongly convicted, Raymond Santana, wants Trump the presidential candidate to apologize. From NY1:

Santana was 14 years old at the time. He says Trump's call for the "death penalty" helped fuel the media firestorm before the suspects even went to trial.

"It says a lot about his character. If he can give the death penalty to 14-year-old, 15-year-old kids then there's nothing he would not do. Those are characteristics of a tyrant, not characteristics of a president," Santana said.

Santana served seven years in prison in connection with the rape and beating of Trisha Meili.

All five of the accused have sued the city. That lawsuit is still pending.

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  1. Our system really is vile. I don’t know what would work better, just saying that the intersection of sex, race, rape, politics, media and fear is bad place to be.

  2. You’re not free unless you’re free to be wrong.

    1. I agree with cock and balls, given that when the ad was published, we were led to believe they were guilt because they confessed. There was no reason to believe at that time that the confessions had been coerced by the shit sucking NYPD cops.

      1. So? It’s the death penalty shit that’s fucked up, not the belief that they were guilty.

        1. The man is entitled to have an opinion and express it as he chooses. It’s an American thing.

          BTW, that women was so brutalized that she had no recollection of the rape/beating. I’d be okay with offing the perp who did it if it were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

          1. Pip, that comment reads like a bad joke. The five defendants _were_ proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, in a court of law. It just happens that the “proof” was based on a lie.

            1. They got the one (1) person who did it; that is to whom I was referring. Ergo, perp not perps.

      2. I am somewhat suspicious of any confession given by a suspect in custody, in light of how many of them have turned out to be false. In this case you also have teenage suspects and tremendous pressure to solve a horrific and highly publicized crime. Why would one NOT be suspicious?

        BTW if you were being sarcastic, my apologies.

    2. I don’t think anyone is claiming that Trump shouldn’t have been allowed to place the ad.

  3. One of a truly great President’s talents must be the ability to gaze deeply into a man’s soul and know if he is guilty.

    1. Change that to “innocent” and I’m your man.

  4. The GOP really can’t not shoot itself in the foot, can it? Not ever?

    1. It’s not the Stupid Party for nothing, dude.

      1. Stupider, party, dude. Get that straight.

        1. Does that mean TEAM BLUE is the Eviler Party, then?

          1. Yeah, that works for me.

            1. It’s so hard to keep up. They keep trying to outdo each other in both categories.

        2. I’ll happily claim that both of em are stupider.

  5. Young, black, inner city… they’re guilty of something.

  6. The guy is sickening. He’s good for a few bluster-filled sound bytes (bites?).

    Personally, I enjoy my bluster in the winter. From the weather.

    Seriously, hasn’t Trump done this before? Then, when we get to the time when he had to disclose his financials, he balks, pulls out and complains about ____________. Right?

    1. Note to myself:
      Nice tense-shift above, you asshole.

    2. It’s amazing how he keeps getting gullible idiots to give him money for businesses that have failed 4, 5 times.

      1. Then again, maybe the Republicans will see that as a positive thing.

        1. They must. It seems to me ether having some sense of business acumen is essential to being the head administrator of state; why the fuck does Team Red, who also apparently bevies this, insist on guy who have done nothing but drive businesses in to the ground a la Bush the Lesser and The Hair?

  7. I really hope this guy doesn’t win any primaries … christ, I’d rather have Obeezy for another 4

  8. Why can’t people understand that we must have law and order? It’s for the children! Or at least for white female joggers. Or something.

    1. At least the hot ones.

  9. Scott Adam’s take on The Donald.

    I’m inclined to agree.…..t_bastard/

    1. Absolutely brilliant article. Pulitzer-worthy, I’d say. Hurrah for Scott Adams!

      1. Is that you, Scott?

      2. Scott,

        That you use PlannedChaos as a sock puppet on the Internet is bad enough. That you continue to do it after it’s been exposed is eggregious. Stick to writing comics, okay?

    2. Back to Trump. He’s a graduate of the Wharton School, which means his intelligence is in the genius range. He’s a world-renowned businessman with attention to details.

      When did Scott Adams get down on his knees and start sucking the dick of credentialism?

      If the last 50 years has taught us anything it is that throwing a rock at any graduating class of any ivy league school has a greater then 50% chance of hitting an imbecile and a closet tyrant.

  10. New York City papers could use more of this from Trump. He should read about crimes in one day’s newspaper and then take out full pagers in the next day’s, telling prosecutors, judges and juries what to do. Those fishwrappers could use the ad revenue.

  11. “All five of the accused have sued the city. That lawsuit is still pending.”

    Suing for what? Are they saying that they weren’t involved in the violent violation of the jogger’s rights? Will they give what “reparations” they hope to receive as reparations to the woman they assaulted?

    The real shit-suckers are the scumbags who attacked an innocent woman out for a run in the first place.

    1. Are you trolling, or did you simply not RTFA?

      1. Why does it have to be either or?

      2. I did “RTFA.” And the comments as well. Did you? It seems in the lust for Trump-bashing (and Trump is an ass) there was a lot of misplaced sympathy for the asswipes involved in the assault (not solely the one animal who performed the actual rape) than for the victim; ya know, the “white female jogger” (whose right to run unmolested apparently is less important than that of the assholes who accosted her.)

        Thanks for playing (trolling?), Sparky.

        1. Obviously you didn’t read the fucking article because it wasn’t “asswipes” it was “asswipe” as in singular. Jesus Tap Dancing Christ!

          1. As I remember it, the five individuals Ken Burns will be calling “The Central Park Five” in his latest masterpiece were assaulting people, but didn’t rape the “Central Park Jogger” and perhaps were too busy attacking other people to participate in the attack on her. So Sane Libertarian’s lack of sympathy for them is not surprising.

            1. I didn’t know they had been attacking other people. However, that doesn’t change that he had the facts about the rape wrong.

              They do in fact have every right to be compensated for the wrongful imprisonment and prosecution of a crime they did not commit.

    2. Are they saying that they weren’t involved in the violent violation of the jogger’s rights?

      Did you RTFA? Or is there a FA that I missed?

    3. Are you retarded or did you just play one on TV’s Life Goes On?

    4. Science Damn it you are fucking stupid.

  12. Even Obama looks good in comparison to Trump.

    1. You think so?

      1. you made the gubmit look bad, you sir are fucked no matter who is in the oval office.

  13. I keep saying it, but I want this issue to haunt his bloated, pasty-faced self through the next few months, at least.

    I mentioned elsewhere today that I hoped Balko picked up on this story, but I kind of figured he would find it all on his own.

    Anyway. My favorite thing about this is the fact that “wilding”, which was allegedly an epidemic amongst inner-city-youth, was nothing more than a convenient fiction to justify mass arrests, which has since become an urban legend.

    The short-fingered vulgarian can try to say that race played no part in his Obama-baiting birther bullshit, but it’s hard to get out from under it in this case. Anyone old enough to remember the eighties should be able to recall the already poisounous racial atmosphere at the time in NYC; suspicion and hostility bordering on murderous paranoia were the order of the day, and Trump gleefully waded in and stirred the shit up. It was never about justice or truth, from beginning to end this was Us vs. Them, and Trump was one of the biggest cheerleaders for overzealous prosecution.

    1. +1 for “short-fingered vulgarian.” I still miss Spy magazine….

      1. Yeah, I said on another thread today that Graydon Carter and crew should have won a Pulitzer just for coming up with that description; its perfection and accuracy is borne out by the fact that people still know and recognize it.

    2. Three brothas talkin’ loud is considered ‘wilding’ where I come from.

  14. The media takes it and twist to their own advantage. I hope you guys love communism.

  15. I’m shocked and amazed that anyone had to back further than fifteen minutes to dig up dirt on Donald Trump.

    Donald fucking Trump? Bristol Palin is closer to being the GOP nominee.

    1. The sad thing is that, according to at least one poll, he’s at the head of the pack. So apparently he is a serious candidate among Republicans.

  16. This is interesting. Did the victim not know she was raped and beaten by one man rather than five? WTF?

    1. she was beaten so severely that she didn’t remember a thing about the attack. according to her, she doesn’t remember anything from about an hour before the attack to when she woke from her coma.

      1. No, no, she was just getting back from the tractor pull so her hearing was a little off. She still had dust in her eyes from all them giant machines kicking up everything, so she wasn’t able to see very clearly.

      2. And just in case you need additional data about their innocence, here it is:
        ‘She was found unconscious with her skull fractured, her body temperature at 84 degrees, and 75 percent of her blood drained from her body. When she recovered, she had no memory of the assault.’

  17. “There was a moral panic to be stoked.”

    Right, and Ron Paul was busy stoking it in his newsletters. How about a Trunp-Paul ticket?

  18. So, let me get this straight: Donald Trump was supposed to have known, at that time, that those who had confessed to the crime were actually innocent? I realize we like to imagine our Presidents (and therefore our candidates) as having super powers, but isn’t this a little too much to ask?

    How about assuming you know only what he knew at the time, and what the people of NYC knew at the time, and then criticizing his position? Wouldn’t that be just a bit more rational, and fair?

    This blog post comes across as wanting to blame one man for the mistakes and follies of a million people – of an entire culture – of an entire period in our history.

    Sorry – not buying it.

    1. guilty until proven innocent?

    2. That doesn’t mean he should have called for their execution.

    3. Okay, Draco, get it straight then: Donald Trump WAS supposed to have known, at that time, that taking out a full page ad calling for the application of the death penalty in a rape case (deemed unconstitutional way back in 1972) toward 5 black minors who claimed their confessions were false and had been coerced, would strike decent Americans with knowledge of their country’s history as a crass call for a return to the days of lynching.

      And you’re supposed to know that too.

      1. I’m not defending Trump, in case that isn’t clear. I have no interest in defending him. I’ve never liked him since I became aware of his existence in the 1980s. Trump seems to me to specialize in riding waves of popular culture to fame and fortune – alternating with infamy and bankruptcy.

        I’m simply pointing out that this piece by Balko heaps a lot of responsibility on one man and one man’s ad in a newspaper, and that strikes me as unjust. Moral panics shouldn’t be stoked – but that’s not the same as saying that, when they are ready to erupt (for all kinds of reasons only a full study of the Zeitgeist could elucidate), one man is solely to blame, no matter how much stoking he’s done.

  19. Somebody once called T.E. Lawrence the most shameless exhibitionist since P.T. Barnum. If he were alive today he’d probably give that title to Donald Trump instead.

    1. I heard what you said, sir, and I take the gravest possible exception!

  20. Leftwing Drone Cites “Nobel Prize-Winning Economist” Paul Krugman at Town Hall, Hearty Laughter Ensues
    Seems the Nobel Prize just isn’t as prestigious as it once was, back in the days when only the true greats like Yassar Arafat and Al Gore were awarded the medal.

    Eh, never mind.

    The good part comes around the 1:20 mark.


    1. Comedy! Gold!

      Thanks, Pip

    2. Interesting how a bunch of rubes who look like they just came from a tractor pull not only know who Krugman is, but know enough to laugh at him.

  21. ^^THIS^^

    Also, Reason’s servers suck bum ass.

  22. What’s with the tractor pull meme? I mean, tractor pulls are fucking awesome, and I hope no one is insinuating that they’re not.

    1. MNG used it as shorthand on the Walmart thread…you know, people who shop at Walmart are all low class types that enjoy tractor pulls. Poor elitist MNG will never know the awesomeness of a tractor pull.

      1. Of course it’s MNG who doesn’t understand tractor pulls. What a dipshit.

      2. Leave it to the lefty winger to hate the salt of the earth.

        “you low brow middle class bastards are hurting the middle class!!!!”

  23. there is not perfect system.

  24. Given the general attitude people have about the current administration, in light of the economy, failure to keep promises, spending like a drunken sailor in Thailand, etc., this coming election should be a GOP cakewalk. But the pool of candidates that has so far lined up to run is feeling a lot like Clinton’s second run. There were enough people upset with him over Whitewater, Monicagate, etc., that it should have been a GOP cakewalk back then, too. But they chose to run Bob Dole, and it was an easy sweep for Clinton. They’re doing it again.

  25. Once a megalomaniac media wh*re, always the same.

  26. Trump is a promoter, provocateur and expert at baiting the media. He must be having a good laugh at all of the excitement he’s inspired.

    Job search assistance –

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