To Tell the Truth

To Tell the Truth

You’re sitting in your comfortable chair watching late night TV. On the screen is a preview of the next film. The cast of characters are as follows: Five throw-away kids, a hungry-for-a-conviction prosecutor, and a slew of decorated police officers that are going to convict the guilty parties, then solve the case before you have to use the bathroom. Oh yeah, and lets not forget the rapist hiding in plain sight.

To keep you tuned in, the alleged hero of the movie is the same guy whose mantra of rape, burn, and pillage was utilized as if he was a Viking in training. His crimes were gruesome, his last act as a free person was to brutally rape and kill a pregnant woman before walking away as nonchalantly as if he’d only called an errant phone number by mistake.

Which brings us to our “Zap Tale,” one I am sure will be read with mixed emotions and controversy to boot. I guess this is the upside of spending the rest of my life in prison, being politically incorrect is the least of my problems. I sat in my true man cave, and like many of you have watched “The Central Park Five.” Even after enduring my own injustices and being witness to far more, I have to say I was appalled. It really was a movie in the making far before anyone thought about making one.

The police elicited five different confessions – which meshed as easily as salad dressing and water – all under the pretense that once the kids confessed, they would be able to go home with mommy. The cops were so nice to the one kid who seemed to be slightly retarded, (he turned out to be deaf) they gave him a soda when they started the tape.

Each one of the five suspects had to implicate the other, so the police mixed it up and kind of free styled the tapes. Two or three were accused of physically raping the women, the rest participating in various ways.

Here is what pissed me off enough to write about it. They had five taped confessions and got five different stories. Then, after the DNA came back, didn’t anyone ever stop and wonder why none of the five were present? I mean if they actually raped someone, wouldn’t there be a transfer of fluids? Or maybe they were like the “Merry Maids” of rapists who leave the place spotless on the way out. Either that or at fourteen, they had an amazing ability to refrain from ejaculating. But since it was five kids that had absolutely no impulse control, that’s a hard one (no pun intended) to believe.

Then Matias Reyes comes forward from prison and like a happy train wreck, and admits everything. First to the deaf guy, who could not believe what he thought he was hearing, then to the police who still didn’t think the five were innocent. Even after Reyes revealed details the police didn’t know about and the five got wrong! Oh yeah, and his DNA was a perfect match to boot.

The five had already been through hell and back, as I can tell you firsthand, rapists do not do well in prison. To make matters worse, considering their age, I am more then sure they fought off, or maybe could not fight off, those who like young boys on a regular basis. To top it all off the C.O.’s – who are mostly white – do not take to kindly to inner city kids raping a white woman.

Oh, and by the way, I knew Reyes as I spent several years with him in the same prison block. After speaking to him at great lengths on several occasions, I can say for sure he is a very different person then he was twenty years ago. However, his eyes tell me he used to be a piece of work.

Before the film ended, his final statement was something along the lines of, “All I can do is tell the truth. If they don’t let them out of prison, or exonerate the five, at least I can look in the mirror and say, I tried.”  Now even knowing he is no longer the same animal, this had me wondering: can devils wear halos?

He had no incentive to do the right thing, and nothing to gain. If anything, it hurt his chances of ever being free. The truth was at least inconvenient, as he just  went from a run of the mill murderer, to the cities most hated rapist. Even if it was the only good thing he ever did in his utterly heinous life, it was a bigger act of samaritanism than most can ever lay claim to.  Now here comes the million-dollar question ? When is enough, enough? At what point can you forgive someone that used to be so foul and so evil, there isn’t even a name that would correctly fit them.

Human beings make lots of horrible choices, some of them can be forgiven, most of them aren’t. Sometimes their deeds are so foul they couldn’t be forgiven if they repented for one hundred lifetimes. I am not referring to Reyes. I’m talking about the filthy prosecution for going ahead with that trial, even after they realized it was not those five kids. The District Attorney is portraying the white hat wearing arm of justice, yet she knowingly sent five children to rot, get abused, and possibly killed just to save face.

And let’s not forget the decorated police officers that patted themselves on the back for cracking the case. Nice work fellas. Aside from scoring zero on ethics, you invented perps and nailed them to the cross. This easily topped the whole (Abner Louima) thing without getting a shitty nightstick. They should have been labeled pedophiles because they fucked five children.

In the end, here is the casualty scorecard: one woman was brutally raped and beaten. Five innocent children were falsely imprisoned. One District Attorney built a career and even coined a seductively repellant narrative that launched “wilding.” And just when you thought you had seen it all, four detectives upped their batting average by hitting a new low. To top it all off, the real true to life film would have flopped at the box office.

There were no winners here, just a few very successful liars and one hero.