Freed Five members once jailed for rape in Central Park win seat on New York City Council

A member of the freed Central Park Five who former President Donald Trump famously executed in an infamous newspaper ad may have won a seat on the New York City Council.

Youssef Salaam defeated several candidates — along with an incumbent and a candidate endorsed by Mayor Eric Adams — to win more than 50 percent of the vote in the City Council’s Ninth Ward Democratic primary Tuesday. More than 80% of registered voters in the county are Democrats, while only 3% are Republicans.

Salaam’s marketing campaign has gained publicity by issuing several statements mocking Trump for his 1989 ad and calling for the state to reinstate the death penalty in the case, especially given the cost to the previous president.

At a victory celebration in Harlem, Salaam spoke about these ads without mentioning the previous president’s title.

Large advertisements purchased in 1989. Whisper for the state to kill us. Basically whispers in the darkest enclaves of society that they would do to us what they did to Emmit Till.

Youssef Salam, the released member of the Central Park Five who former President Donald Trump once famous for his death sentence in an infamous newspaper ad, may have won a seat on the New York City Council.

Trump reportedly spent $85,000 to run full-page ads in several New York newspapers in opposition to the Central Park Five, now often referred to as the Freed Five.

In his 1989 ad, Trump used his now-synonymous all-caps to title the web page “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY.” BRING BACK OUR POLICE”.

“I want to hate these killers and I always will,” he continued in the piece. “I don’t want to psychoanalyze them or understand them, I want to punish them.”

In response to Trump’s arrest in April, Salam said, “Now, after decades and an unhappy and disastrous presidency, we all know exactly who Donald J. Trump – a man who tries to deny justice and fairness to others while he only claims that he is innocent. to himself.’

His campaign featured an ad that he ran using the same font and capitalization: “BRING BACK JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS! BUILD A BETTER FUTURE FOR CENTRAL HARLEM!’

Salam immediately referred to his time in prison in his victory speech.

“We started from the bottom, now we’re here,” he mentioned to maddened cheers. “This campaign was about those who are counted. This campaign was about those who have been forgotten.’

With 99 percent of the votes counted, Salam had 50.14 percent of the vote, which would have allowed him to win the seat without having to go through New York’s election system.

Salam’s campaign has gained publicity by issuing a series of statements mocking Trump for his 1989 ad and calling on the state to reinstate the death penalty in the case, which is tailored to the former president’s charges.

In a scathing full-page ad in 1989, Donald Trump called for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York in response to the Central Park Five case.

After Trump’s arrest in April, Salam mimicked Trump’s letter while mocking him for his “disastrous presidency”

Among the candidates he defeated was Inez E. Dickens, who endorsed Democratic Mayor Eric Adams 12 days before the primary vote, though she has largely abstained from endorsing candidates this year.

Dickens previously supported Adams’ successful 2021 mayoral campaign. She came in second with 25 percent.

Her campaign conceded she would lose Tuesday night City and country.

Christina Richardson Jordan, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist and abolitionist, declined to run for re-election but still received 9 percent of the vote.

State Assemblyman Al Taylor came in third with 14 percent of the vote.

His upcoming seat in downtown Harlem has a strong Democratic slant, as a Republican has never received more than 12 percent of the district’s vote.

In 1989, Salam was one of five black and Latino teenagers who were falsely accused and convicted of sexually assaulting a white woman in Manhattan’s Central Park. His conviction was overturned in 2002.

In 2014, after the Central Park Five settled with the city of New York for wrongful arrest, Trump responded by stating that “a settlement does not mean innocence.”

The Central Park Five are in touch about the 2019 BET Awards. Pictured left to right: Corey Weiss, Raymond Sanatana Jr., Youssef Salim, Antron McRae and Kevin Richardson

Yusef Salaam, back, pictured, leaving the court record in June 1990

Donald Trump was pictured throughout his impeachment hearing in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday

In remarks Tuesday, Salam spoke about his time in what he called the “belly of the beast,” sharing what he had learned about the justice system throughout that time.

“I was gifted because I saw it for what it really is. A system that tried to make me believe I was the wildest nightmares of my ancestors. But I am the wildest dreams of my ancestors.

He ran on a platform called the “Equality and Empowerment Agenda” with “thoughtful input from all over Harlem, especially from the most marginalized communities — black and brown communities, women, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities — because we know they’re closest to the pain is often also the closest to the solution.

Salam also campaigned for leftist causes like housing as a human need, financial justice, rule of law and security reform, and environmental justice.

After a scathing rebuke of Trump’s arrest, Salam used the rest of his ad to argue that many of the points that led to his wrongful arrest 30 years ago still exist at once.

“I have experienced the type of trauma that many of us in our country experience every day,” he mentioned.

My previous is a case of systemic oppression by a system of injustice.

But the problems our group faced when my title was pulled from the papers, the technology of the past — insufficient housing, underfunded faculty, public safety issues, and a lack of great jobs — got worse throughout Donald Trump’s tenure. .’

Salam campaigned for left-wing causes reminiscent of housing as a human need, financial justice, rule of law and security reform, and environmental justice

Salam enters the New York State Supreme Court at the age of 16

Salam said that he himself is the candidate to “change it” as he condemned Trump’s actions as president, similar to the January 6 riots, as “an attack on our security.”

“Now that you’ve been indicted and you’ve been criminally charged, I’m not going to resort to hate or bias or racism — like you once did,” he added.

“Even though you actually invited my death and the death of four other innocent children thirty-four years ago, I wish you no harm.”

Salam said he had “trusted the justice system” to find out the truth, and after Trump denounced him for “trying to erase civil liberties,” he continued to hope that “you get what the Freed Five didn’t — suspicion .for innocence and due process”.

“And if the charges are proven and you are found guilty, I hope that you will be sentenced with the same strength and dignity that the Freed Five suffered when we were sentenced for a crime we did not commit.”

On Tuesday night, Salaam made clear his time in prison and the public are calling for his execution as he becomes a potential elected official.

“They have made us pariahs, but look at our lives, my whole life is being restored,” he mentioned.

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