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Blacks unable to remember 'Central Park Six'

Alton H.Maddox | , Jr. | 4/12/2011, 4:38 p.m.

The two leaders of the New York Legislature who initiated the disciplinary complaint were the late Assemblyman Neil Kelleher and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, who is now seeking to represent the 20th Congressional District, the seat which was vacated by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

This election between Tedisco and Scott Murphy is still undecided after the March 31 special election. It is a referendum on the length of President Barack Hussein Obama's coattails. Kelleher and Gov. David Paterson were "close friends." This friendship failed to undermine Kelleher's political agenda.

An argument does exist for the City Council to settle claims by the Central Park jogger defendants. To avoid the heavy costs of litigation, Congress has been asked to pass legislation to settle the claims of 9/11 victims. New York City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo has adopted this approach.

The "Central Park Six" is similarly situated. Judicial bias may suffocate their claims in Manhattan Federal Court. Their legitimate claims seem to be mired in quicksand, while whites are pursuing judicial-lite claims of wrongful convictions and are enjoying hefty judgments and settlements.

For damages, New York City Council should study the $15-million verdict in Newsome v. McCabe. A federal jury in Chicago awarded James Newsome $1 million for each of the 15 years he spent behind bars. The "Central Park Boys" should enjoy similar compensation.

The Chicago Police Department knew that Newsome was innocent. Nonetheless, it manipulated the lineup and suppressed exculpatory fingerprints. His lead trial counsel was Philip S. Beck, who was also the lead trial counsel in Bush v. Gore. He represented Bush 43.

Last week, James Patnaude, a consummate activist, and Kharey Wise, a victim in the Central Park jogger case, took advantage of this year's annual conference of the National Action Network to secure signatures for the petition drive. A plethora of celebrities and public officials were in attendance.

Some of these high-profile personalities, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Daily News mogul Mort Zuckerman, television personality Judge Mathis, Councilman John Liu and James Mtume of WRKS-FM, supported the demand for immediate compensation for the "Central Park Six." Rev.Al Sharpton and his wife, Kathy Sharpton, also signed the petition.

On the other hand, there were dissenters, including most Black politicians and preachers. Comptroller William Thompson refused to sign it on the grounds that he would have to decide the legitimacy of their claims. This is obviously a misreading of the General Municipal Law.

Under New York law, a claimed victim has to file a notice of claim with the comptroller of New York City as a condition for either receiving compensation or initiating litigation. Presumably, Thompson denied the claim many moons ago. He could have granted the claims.

Several years ago, I hypothesized that as we put more Blacks in political offices, our condition would worsen. This hypothesis is supported by the scientific method. The base period is 1965. The seeds of our destruction can be found in Brown v. Board of Education and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.