President Donald Trump has once again refused to apologize for demonizing the Central Park Five.
On Tuesday outside the White House, Trump stopped to answer questions from reporters on his way to his campaign launch rally in Florida. There, reporter April Ryan asked him if he would apologize for an full-page ad he took out in 1989, in which he castigated the five teenagers arrested in the case and called for the return of the death penalty.
In 1990, five black and hispanic teenagers were convicted of raping and beating a white woman in Central Park. Their convictions were vacated in 2002 after another man came forward and admitted to the rape. His DNA matched with evidence that police had collected. Each of the five convicted men received a settlement from New York City of roughly $1 million per year spent in prison.
“You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt,” Trump told Ryan. “If you look at Linda Fairstein and if you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city should never have settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that.”
“Bring back the death penalty, bring back our police!” Trump’s ad, which ran while the case was ongoing, read.
In interviews spanning the 30 years since the case, Trump has consistently defended his stance. In a 1989 interview with Larry King, Trump says “maybe hate is what we need if we’re gonna get something done.”
He has also reaffirm his position on Twitter.
The story of the Central Park Five has been dramatized in a new miniseries by Ava DuVernay called When They See Us, which premiered on Netflix last month.