'Exonerated 5' Member Yusef Salaam Declares Victory New York City Council Primary Race
“What has happened on this campaign has restored my faith in knowing that I was born for this,” he told supporters. Salaam was one of a group of five Black men wrongfully convicted of beating and raping a white woman jogging in Central Park in 1989.
Yusef Salaam, a member of the Exonerated Five and political novice, has declared victory in his bid for New York City council seat in Harlem.
Unofficial results from the city's Board of Elections show Salaam as the first choice of 50.1 percent of voters, with 99 percent of scanners reporting as of Wednesday morning, CBS News reported.
Salaam triumphed over two longtime politicians from the neighborhood, Daily News reported.
Assemblywoman Inez Dickens, who previously held the seat but had been term-limited out had 25 percent. Assemblyman Al Taylor had 14.4 percent while incumbent Kristin Richardson Jordan withdrew from the race, CBS News reported.
"This campaign has been about those who have been counted out," he said Tuesday night in his victory speech. "This campaign has been about those who have been forgotten. This campaign has been about our Harlem community that has been pushed into the margins of life."
Salaam, along with Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise, were tried in 1989 for rape and beating of a white woman who was attacked in Central Park. The group, known as the Central Park Five, were later found to be wrongfully convicted of raping and beating the woman who was jogging in Central Park. The Five, then teens, faced police interrogations and gave false confessions.
“What has happened on this campaign has restored my faith in knowing that I was born for this,” he added. “I am not a seasoned politician. So therefore this was not politics as usual.”
The Central Park Five spent years behind bars, until their sentences were overturned in 2002 following a confession from a different man whose admission was affirmed by DNA evidence. The group later became known as The Exonerated Five.
“What has happened on this campaign has restored my faith in knowing that I was born for this,” Salaam said Tuesday. “I am not a seasoned politician. So therefore this was not politics as usual.”
Since Tuesday was a primary voting day, if Salaam officially wins the primary and ultimately the general election in November, he will be representing the 9th District in the City Council, which includes the part of East Harlem where he grew up.
Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Salaam for comment and has not heard back.
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