Raymond Santana is one of the Central Park Five. He was 14 years old when he was arrested in 1989 for the rape of Trisha Meili, known then as the Central Park jogger. Santana was convicted for the crime, along with Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, and Kevin Richardson. He ended up spending seven years in prison for the crime. In 2002, Matias Reyes admitted his guilt and a DNA test exonerated the five men.
Following the exoneration of the five men, the City of New York agreed to pay them a settlement of $41 million, which was approximately one million for each of their years spent in prison. When They See Us, a four part series on Netflix directed by Ava DuVernay, explores the famous and heartbreaking historical event.
To CBS this May, Santana said of his wrongful conviction, “We’re 14-, 15- and 16-year-old kids. Never been in trouble with the law. Never had no police contact. These [police] are seasoned veterans. This fight was fixed.”
Here’s what you need to know about Santana, who is now 44 years old:
Raymond Santana Is Now an Activist, Clothing Designer, & Public Speaker
Raymond Santana, now 44, was 14 years old when he was arrested in 1989. He ended up spending seven years in prison for the case.
Now, Santana is, per his Instagram bio, an “Activist, fighter, designer, owner (@parkmadisonnyc ) speaker, father, historian, lover……..” Santana’s clothing company, Park Madison NYC, “constructs lifestyle collections for the rebellious and chic outcast who levels up through style,” per the site.
Here’s a photo Santana posted of himself in 1991, while he was serving time at Goshen Secure Center, a juvenile detention facility in Orange County, New York:
Santana was actually the one who first reached out to DuVernay with the idea of covering the famous rape case. On April 21, 2015, Santana tweeted to DuVernay, “What’s your next film gonna be on?? #thecentralparkfive #CP5 #centralpark5 maybe???? #wishfulthinking #fingerscrossed”
All of the members of the Central Park Five have given interviews in the last month, sharing their feelings about the Netflix series.
To The New York Times, Santana said,
[Reliving these events] brings back the pain; it brings back the memories. But it’s necessary. I was ready and I was willing to relive, to go through that pain again, to cry — because it’s necessary. It’s a sacrifice. You want to change the culture, you’ve got to be engaged. This is how we got engaged.
Santana also spoke to CBS, answering the question of whether their multi-million dollar settlement made the trauma worth it. He said, “We were able to relocate, put our children in better situations. But besides that, no.”
He added, “No amount of money could have given us our time back.”
As for why he chose to move to Georgia, Santana told The New York Daily News, “I’m just living in Georgia trying to raise my daughter as best as I can, just taking it one day at a time. I just wanted to get away from all the noise and be somewhere where it’s quiet.”