Yusef Salaam, a member of the “Central Park Five,” won a seat on the New York City City Council on Tuesday and will represent a central area of Harlem, according to the Associated Press, more than 34 years after he was falsely convicted and imprisoned for the rape and beating of a white woman in Central Park.
Salaam, a Democrat, won the seat unopposed four months after winning a Democratic primary for the position in a landslide victory.
The district Salaam will represent on the council stretches from the northern tip of Harlem to the north end of Central Park.
Salaam announced his run for the 9th District in Manhattan back in February, running on a platform that he said would demand “those in power” address “systemic barriers that keep so many of us from thriving and not just surviving,” according to CBS.
Salaam was wrongly convicted in 1990 of first-degree assault and first-degree rape alongside four Black and Latino teenagers. Former President Donald Trump, at the time best known as a New York real estate developer, took out newspaper ads calling for the death penalty to be reinstated in response. The convictions of the Central Park Five were vacated 12 years later, when all five men collectively received a $41 million settlement. Salaam has worked as a criminal justice advocate since and board member for the Innocence Project, a nonprofit committed to exonerating wrongly convicted individuals.