On April 19,1989 in Central Park, a female jogger named Trisha Meili was brutally assaulted and raped, leaving her in a coma for twelve days. Eleven suspects were charged, however five teenage boys, four black and one Hispanic, were tried for assault, robbery, riot, rape, sexual abuse, and attempted murder. The boys were questioned for hours and ultimately pleaded guilty, only to take back their statements weeks later claiming that they falsely confessed due to intimidation.
Only twelve days after the boys were accused, Donald Trump bought full-page advertisements in all major New York newspapers urging for the return of the death penalty. His ad inspired anger and fear against these boys, and got the public worked up.
However in 2002, serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to committing the crime alone, with DNA evidence supporting his claim. The five were exonerated and Trump was urged to apologize. Despite protests outside of Trump Tower, Trump remained unapologetic for his ad that encouraged five innocent boys to be sentenced to death.
In 2014, the five defendants were given a settlement of more than $40 million by New York City. Trump called this “a disgrace” and continued to claim that the five were guilty, even with the complete lack of DNA evidence and Reyes’ confession.
Just recently, Trump was asked a question regarding the case, to which he answered that he still believed in their guilt and that the charges should not have been dropped.
This case highlights Trump’s complete reluctance of ever admitting when he is wrong, and to his refusal of apologizing for something that had a serious impact on peoples’ lives. Even though DNA evidence has confirmed their innocence, Trump still remains firm in his own beliefs. To Trump, it doesn’t matter that a large portion of their lives was wasted for a crime they didn’t commit, or that his ads could have been enough to end their lives, or that there is evidence proving their innocence, he still will believe what he deems as true.