Michael Sheehan, the veteran New York City detective who was a key investigator in the Central Park Five case, has died.

Sheehan lost his battle with cancer on Friday and died at the New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, according to Michael Palladino, president of the NYPD’s Detective Endowment Association.

He was 71.

Michael Sheehan spent 25 years with the NYPD working high profile cases including the controversial Central Park jogger investigation in 1989 that led to five innocent black and Latino teens being convicted of rape.

All five men were later exonerated years later – only after the real perpetrator confessed to committing the crime.

In 2002, he told New York Magazine:

All this stuff about coercion really pisses me off. Do you honestly think that we — detectives with more than 20 years in, family men with pensions — would risk all of that so we could put words in the mouth of a 15-year-old kid? Absolutely not.

Sheehan left the force in 1993 and became a reporter for Fox 5 until he was fired in 2009 for hitting a NYPD horse with his car.

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