On April 19, 1989, Trisha Meili, 28, was beaten and raped while she jogged through Central Park. In the shadow of a frenzied mainstream media, five young Black and Latino youths were arrested, and they have always said they were manipulated by the NYPD into confessing. Attorney Michael Tarif Warren maintains that investigators always knew that no DNA evidence linked the five youngsters to the crime, yet they tried and convicted them in order to satisfy something like a press-whipped up bloodlust.

In 2002, while serving a life sentence for rape and murder, Matias Reyes confessed to the crime when he just happened to bump into Kharey Wise, a member of the accused group. His DNA was a match with the attack on Meili. Yet, despite evidence that exonerated them, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Police Commissioner Kelly and lead prosecutors in the case like Elizabeth Lederer, and Manhattan ADA Linda Fairstein, and cop Mike Sheehan still said that the five had to be involved.

“Mayor Bill de Blasio, we are still waiting for you to honor your word–spoken both during and after campaign–to settle the Central Park case, in an appropriate manner which is commiserate to the suffering of these young men who had their youth snatched from them,” attorney Michael Tarif Warren told the AmNews. “The Central Park settlement case is emblematic of his credibility. It has been four months since Mayor de Blasio has been in office, yet there still is no settlement.”

“As we approach the 25th anniversary of this gross injustice, we patiently wait for the wheels of justice–newly oiled with the coming of our Mayor Bill de Blasio–to turn again. Our hope is that a speedy response will be forthcoming and favorable,” said Yusef Salaam, one of the five young men wrongfully convicted in the notorious Central Park jogger case. “It has been said justice delayed is justice denied … this has been the case. There was a speedy process to convict us, there has yet to be a speedy process of complete restorative justice.”

The five teenagers that spent between 6-13 years in prison and are now grown men with families, are: Raymond Santana, Salaam, Antron McCray, Wise, and Kevin Richardson.

“We have been patient, we want to finally move on with our lives and put this ugly nightmare to bed,” Salaam told the AmNews. “One day in prison for a crime you didn’t commit is one day too long! For my comrades and I, we collectively spent 41 years in prison for crimes we didn’t commit. The time is now for justice to be swift and favorable. We and our families have suffered for far too long.”

In a December 2013 news conference where he announced former U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter as the city’s head of corporation counsel, then Mayor-elect de Blasio affirmed, “We will settle the Central Park Five case because a huge injustice was done.” He declared that he is “committed to making that settlement quickly.”

The words sounded so promising when they were spoken with such conviction and resolution. Yet, months later, crickets.

Attorney Roger Wareham stated, “On the campaign trail and immediately after his inauguration, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised a swift settlement to the Central Park Five case as one of his top agenda items. Since then, the city has settled the ‘stop-and-frisk’ case and appointed an independent monitor for the NYPD. The city has settled the case charging the New York Fire Department with racism in its hiring practices. But to date, there has been no settlement of the Central Park Five case.”

When asked for a response to the charge made by Wareham and Warren that de Blasio was stalling, Monica Klein, assistant press secretary mayor’s press office, told the AmNews, “We’re declining to comment at this time.”

In 2003, Richardson, Santana Jr. and McCray sued the city for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination and emotional distress. Mayor Michael Bloomberg kept the suit in court for 10 years.

But, at the beginning of 2014, after U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis stayed litigation in the case for 30 days, Council Member Inez Barron held a press conference at City Hall to demand “a rapid settlement of the Central Park Five case … [and] to let the mayor know that we take very seriously his oft-reiterated promise to end this 25-year-old tragedy and travesty of justice as quickly as possible.”

A fellow attorney for the Central Park Five, Wareham told the AmNews that he is calling on the community “to endorse a city wide demonstration to demand a swift and just settlement for the Central Park Five. April 19 will mark the 25th anniversary of the unjust arrest, demonization, trial and incarceration of five Black and Latino teenagers for the rape and attempted murder of a white female jogger in Central Park. In 2002, the real and only perpetrator of this vicious crime came forward to admit his guilt and it was corroborated by his DNA and testimony.

Warren reiterates his refrain, “I hope this press conference on April 17 is well attended by a diverse group because it is such an important case in this city. It is a serious case. It is a community case. The people bring about justice with the rallies and protests.”

The Central Park Five rally at City Hall Park begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 17. For more information, call 718-398-1766.