Ken Burns, co-director of the PBS documentary pic “The Central Park Five,” said a potential $40 million settlement in the case of the five men who were wrongfully imprisoned for beating and raping a female jogger will bring “closure” to a painful chapter in New York legal history.
The men and New York City’s Law Department reached a confidential deal this week, according to the New York Times.
Burns said financial restitution will provide some “measure of justice” to the five black and Hispanic plaintiffs who served between seven and thirteen years in prison before being exonerated. Burns and his daughter, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon produced the 2012 PBS docu that shed light on how the legal process went awry for the five men.
“Their story has come to symbolize the immense challenges we continue to confront when it comes to race in this country, but it is also the story of five men maintaining their dignity in the face of injustice and now, of the collective power to acknowledge and correct our mistakes,” said Burns in a statement to Variety.
The convictions of the five men — Kharey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana Jr. — were overturned following a 2002 investigation by the Manhattan district attorney that linked convicted murderer and rapist Matias Reyes to the crime scene.