When Donald Trump Didn’t Need Proof

Friday, April 29th, 2011

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 Lōc 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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65 Responses to “When Donald Trump Didn’t Need Proof”

  1. #1 |  Donald Trump Would Have Executed Five Innocent Kids | Renaissance Post | 

    […] to despise this deeply bigoted, overpromoted glorified confidence man, Radley Balko of The Agitator gives us another, reminding us that in 1989, Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in four New York City newspapers […]

  2. #2 |  Donald Trump Presidential Run - Page 3 - MotownSports.com Message Board | 

    […] When Donald Trump Didn’t Need Proof | The Agitator Quote: […]

  3. #3 |  Emilyrose | 

    Actually Trump has made a total cake of himself.
    Jumping up and down for a birth certificate which has since been overwhelmingly denounced and shown to be a fake and just saying OK thats fine.
    What a shallow and useless big mouth he is.
    All noise and no substance like the so-called birth certificate itself.
    A joke.
    One wonders now where Trump actually stands. What he has done is help Obama out of a hole. Collusion or accident.

  4. #4 |  Poleer | 

    There are things far worse than death. Rape should be a capital offense. Sometimes death is easier than living with something for forty years.
    Executing 5 wrong out of a ten thousand is better than not executing at all.
    In a society packed with humans the way ours is, overpopulation leaves no other options.

  5. #5 |  croaker | 

    @6 Rape should be a capital crime. At the time and scene, preferably at the hands of the intended victim. More rapists getting shot (and hopefully killed) by their victims means less rapists.

    @46 Right on, man

    @47 Goldwater at least had the courage of his convictions, and in retrospect it turns out he was mostly correct

  6. #6 |  scottnjerzee | 

    I am a male that has survived being severely beaten and raped by multiple assailants when I was 13 years old. I can relate to the sentiment of just being happy to be alive and in one piece. However, there is permanent damage to my psyche. When you come through an experience like that, you can never go back to how you were. My ability to trust people, or just plain relax in a crowd of people is gone for good. From that day forward I never felt safe. I have a hard time letting anyone close to me. So far 6 years have passed. And as much as try to forget about it, it still is a big part of who I am, and what I have become.

  7. #7 |  Acksiom | 

    Scottnjerzee, once when I was a small boy, my mother forced me onto the filthy, disgusting floor of a old movie theater and put her foot on my neck to keep me there, because, and I quote, she was “ashamed to be seen with me.” There was plenty of other abuse too, up to and including, eventually, deadly assault.

    I suggest you find a good therapist out there in the Garden State who uses neuro-linguistic programming and get your psyche repaired. Been there, done that, worked for me.

    The only first step you need is to start telling yourself you can heal and improve rather than telling yourself you’re ruined for life. People with less intellectual and intestinal resources than you’ve already shown here have climbed out of deeper holes. Telling yourself that your ability to trust or relax around others is gone for good is just digging yourself deeper. Remember the zeroth rule of holes: don’t just stop digging, START CLIMBING OUT.

  8. #8 |  I was very excited to produce utilization of my Dsquared Jeans | Ladies Trousers | 

    […] When Donald Trump Didn't Need Proof | The Agitator […]

  9. #9 |  Manju | 

    @47 Goldwater at least had the courage of his convictions, and in retrospect it turns out he was mostly correct

    Did he? I lean libertarian so I’d be happy if you can correct me, but didn’t Goldwater run against Brown v Board?

    How does that pass the liberatarian smell test? I can understand a principled oppostion to Title VII of 64 cra but Goldwater opposed interference by the federal government in state affairs even when the state was violateing the Bill of Rights or the Equal Protection Clause.

    In what libertarian framework does States Rights take precedence over the unalienable rights of man? Sounds to me like he abondened his principles in order to secure the Jim Crow south.

  10. #10 |  mikeZZZZ | 

    So does anyone actually have the text of the ad?

    The articles I’ve seen that quote it at all (unlike this one) include the line “when they kill, they should be executed…” ( http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/?ArID=138192&r=8131524974 ) These kids were never accused of killing, so where did Trump say they should be executed?

    Clearly the ad was inspired by the jogging case and a general perception of a crime wave, and perhaps can be viewed as irresponsibly inflaming passions… but let’s not rush to accuse him of wanting to execute 14-year-olds if he never did.

  11. #11 |  Andy Hall | 

    I can’t read the print on the actual advertisement, but a story about the ads in the same May 1, 1989 issue of the NYT, by Lisa W. Foderaro. She writes:

    The full-page advertisements placed in four New York newspapers today by Donald J. Trump calling for reinstatement of the death penalty grew out of the real-estate developer’s ”deep-seated feeling that what’s happening in society today has to be stopped,” Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview Saturday.

    The $85,000 worth of ads, in The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post and New York Newsday, refer to the attack by a gang of youths on a woman jogger and others in Central Park on April 19. The 600-word appeal, signed Donald J. Trump, is titled ”Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police!” The advertisement appears today on page A13 of The Times.

    In the advertisement, Mr. Trump says that Mayor Edward I. Koch ”has stated that hate and rancor should be removed from our hearts.”

    ”I want to hate these muggers and murderers,” Mr. Trump wrote. ”They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.”

    The woman has been in a coma in Metropolitan Hospital since the attack April 19. Six youths have been indicted on charges of attempted murder, rape, sodomy and assault in the case. Difference of Anger and Hatred

    ”We must not confuse tough punishment with hatred,” Mr. Koch responded in a statement read by an assistant press secretary, Larry Simonberg. ”I think he’s on the wrong track. He has a right to express his opinion. He’s expressing hatred and I’m expressing anger. There’s a big difference.”

    Is she correct? Did Trump call for the death penalty for those accused in this case, or only for perpetrators “when they kill?”

    The guy’s a ridiculous blowhard regardless, but if the 1989 article is correct, he’s a bit less draconian than claimed.

  12. #12 |  Open Thread And Link Farm: Carnival Barkers Edition | Alas, a Blog | 

    […] In 1989, Trump took out a full-page ad calling for the execution of five black teenagers. All of whom turned out to be innocent. […]

  13. #13 |  Trao | 

    When you have not suffered rape or molestation, you get to stay quiet about its effects and just how “easy” it is to get over. First because you don’t know, but also because any assumption of a survivor “getting over it,” even in a non-casual way, relies on the cultural myth that rape isn’t that big a deal and ends up harming survivors even more. Exactly no one gets to expect any measure of “recovery” from any survivor except the survivor zemself.

    Additionally, an argument for life imprisonment over the death penalty is not the best one you can make. I am not a supporter by any means of capital punishment, but imprisoning someone is a rights violation in and of itself – one that makes many more violations possible and more severe – and doesn’t sit well with anyone who doesn’t believe that “human life” (or even “life”), unqualified, can even be considered a value worth holding. I don’t think it’s acceptable to farm animals, for love’s sake; why would I consider it acceptable to imprison humans, either?

    The question of costs and punishment is also a distraction from the enormous ethical issues surrounding capitalism and civilization. Status quo is status quo, no matter how much of a human supremecist you are.

  14. #14 |  Acksiom | 

    No, Trao; we get to do whatever we want. Because we’re free and you have no absolutely no authority whatsoever over the rest of us to and in any degree, kind, shape, form, or other classification.

    So you can take your forced-sell guilt trip and shove it right up your stinky little fascist asshole.

  15. #15 |  Schala | 

    “Rapists should be strapped to a frame, and their victims allowed to whack them in the scrotum until the victim is tired. It that does for their reproductive equipment, oh dear.”

    They might not have been born with a scrotum, your hypothetical rapists.

    Funny how female on anyone rape is ignored, same as anyone on male. In many states and countries, males being raped is not legally counted as rape. Sometimes it’s sexual assault, sometimes not even that.

    And that’s reported instances. Because it’s common sense that a guy raped by a girl was just ‘lucky to score’, not actually wronged.