‘Exonerated Five’ member Yusef Salaam running for office in New York

'Exonerated Five' member Yusef Salaam running for office in New York
Yusef Salaam (Image source: Instagram – @dr.yusefsalaam)

Yusef Salaam, a member of the famed “Exonerated Five,” has announced he is running for a state Senate seat in New York.

Salaam confirmed his interest in running for office by posting the media reports for his 347K Instagram followers on Monday, Sept. 6, 2021.

'Exonerated Five' member Yusef Salaam running for office in New York

According to the New York Daily News, Yusef is gunning for the Harlem state seat that has been vacated by Sen. Brian Benjamin (D).

Benjamin has been tapped to be the next lieutenant governor under new New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. She served as the Lt. Governor for six years under Andrew Cuomo. But he was ousted in humiliation in Aug. 2021 due to a score of sexual harassment accusations and other alleged malfeasance. 

The district that Salaam seeks covers Harlem, East Harlem and the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The Daily News reports that other formidable candidates are expected to run as well, including state Assembly members Al Taylor and Inez Dickens. 

Salaam was wrongly imprisoned for seven years after he and the so-called “Central Park 5” were charged with raping and beating a White female jogger in Central Park in 1989. However, the convictions of Salaam, Kharey Wise, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson and Raymond Santana were overturned in 2002 when a convicted inmate, Matias Reyes, admitted he committed the heinous crime. DNA evidence confirmed Reyes’ guilt. 

In 2014, the Exonerated Five were awarded a $41 million settlement from the city of New York. 

Their harrowing experiences have been made into two award-winning documentaries, “The Central Park Five” by Ken Burns, and Netflix’s “When They See Us,” the latter of which was written and directed by Ava DuVernay.

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