Legacy of Exonerated Five Topic of Talk at Fisher

January 27, 2020

Kevin D. Richardson, a member of the Exonerated Five, will deliver the lecture, “When They See Us: The Legacy of the Central Park Five,” at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Athletic Center at St. John Fisher College.

Kevin D. Richardson (Photo by: Lacey Atkins)


In 1989, Richardson was among 10 suspects arrested following the brutal attack and rape of a jogger in Central Park. Despite there being no DNA and little evidence connecting himself and the four other teens to the crime, Richardson was charged and sentenced to serve five to 10 years in jail. After serving five-and-a-half years for the crime he did not commit, Richardson was put on probation and released from prison. In 2002, New York District Attorney Robert Richardson joined forces with the other men falsely convicted and filed a lawsuit for $41 million, which was finally settled in 2014.

In 2019, Netflix released “When They See Us,” a mini-series portraying the famous events of the case. The celebrated and award-winning show has brought the injustices Richardson and the Central Park Five experienced back into the public’s attention.

Today, Richardson is an advocate for criminal justice reform and uses his personal experience with false coercions and unjust convictions to bring about change. He has partnered with the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing. Ahead of his Richardson’s talk, Fisher’s Student Government Association (SGA) is encouraging attendees to make a donation to the organization, hoping to raise $1,000 for the project, as well as local nonprofits with similar goals.

Zaiya Dillon ’20, president of the SGA, which is sponsoring the event, said Richardson’s story is powerful and humbling, and presents an opportunity to educate the community on issues within the criminal justice system, a field she is passion about it.

“For me personally, I want to go into the legal field, so I want to study all of it – the good, bad, and the ugly,” she said. “Kevin’s talk is one way we can bring awareness to the injustices of the system and think about how to make sure those issues are addressed.”

While Richardson is on campus, he will host workshops with students from the Rochester Central School District and faculty, staff, and students at the College.

This event is sponsored by the Student Government Association, the Office of Student Engagement and Inclusion, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Commuter Council, and the Office of Admissions.