'That should not have happened to me': Woman recalls Puerto Rican Day attack 20 years later
It's been two decades since dozens of women were attacked by a mob of men in Central Park after the Puerto Rican Day parade.
Annie Peyton Bryant was one of more than 50 women who were sexually assaulted in broad daylight back in 2000.
"It's very hard for me to talk about because to this day I still feel very strongly that that should not have happened to me," Bryant says.
Camera caught the women being splashed with water, having their clothes torn off and being abused while other men cheered each other on.
Bryant says 18 of the men were criminally prosecuted for her attack, but she blames the NYPD for the handling of the situation.
Susan Karten, a personal injury attorney, represented Bryant in a civil lawsuit against the city, which accused police of standing by as lawlessness ensued.
"Our argument was that they had to duty to stop these rampages going on all through the park," Karten says.
She says the case was settled as she was calling her first witness to the stand.
Bryant went on to law school after the attack as she found herself "compelled to help other women."
Advocates say the case help make certain improvements in New York's Sexual Assault Reform Act in 2000.
Before the reform act, advocates say it had to be proven that groping and other acts were done for sexual gratification. The forcible touching statute in the reform act held men more accountable regardless of what their intent may be.
Experts also believe that police have much better tools to stop an incident like this from occurring again.
News 12 requested an interview with the NYPD to talk about the policing of parades since the sexual assaults in 2000 and also about how their Special Victims Unit deals with crimes today. The NYPD declined the request.