Dr. Yusef Salaam speaks at UAB


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — One of the “exonerated five” shares his story of injustice in the criminal system to heal and help others.

Dr. Yusef Salaam and the story of four others were featured in the Netflix series, “When They See Us”. Although they have been exonerated, Salaam wants others to learn from their experiences.

In 1989, a young woman jogging through New York’s Central Park was found in a ravine. She had been viciously beaten and raped, and remained in a coma that lasted 12 days. More than a decade later, DNA evidence exonerated the five Harlem teens imprisoned for years after being erroneously convicted of the crime.

He took his message to UAB Tuesday night and spoke to students about how racial bias tainted their case and about the flaws in the system that led to their false confessions. This included police coercion and the vulnerability and pressure of being juveniles in interrogations.

“I do hold anger but I don’t hold bitterness. How do we make sure there is never another one of these kind of cases because the system should work,” says Salaam.

The event ended at 8 p.m.

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