In 1989 five young black men were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman jogging in New York City. Leading the charge against them was a real estate mogul whose divisive rhetoric can be found in his presidential campaign today.
Yusef Salaam was 15 years old when Donald Trump demanded his execution for a crime he did not commit.
The teenagers – four African American and one Hispanic – would become known collectively as the Central Park Five. They would all later deny any involvement in criminality that night, but as they were rounded up and interrogated by the police at length, they said, they were forced into confessing to the rape.
“I would hear them beating up Korey Wise in the next room,” recalled Salaam. “They would come and look at me and say: ‘You realize you’re next.’ The fear made me feel really like I was not going to be able to make it out.”
Nearly three decades before the rambunctious billionaire began his run for president – before he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, for the expulsion of all undocumented migrants, before he branded Mexicans as “rapists” and was accused of mocking the disabled – Trump called for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York following a horrific rape case in which five teenagers were wrongly convicted.