Two men wrongly convicted of murder and released are filing a lawsuit against the local police.
George Clark, 49, and Kevin Harrington, 38, both former inmates wrongly convicted of murder and spent almost 18 years behind bars, have teamed up to bring a $ 160 million lawsuit against the city Inkster and two former law enforcement officers. The men were exonerated in April 2020 after being sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Michael Martin in 2002.
“People could say, ‘$ 160 million, that’s a crazy amount of money,'” said Wolf Mueller, the attorney who represents the men. “That’s a lot of money. It’s also bad to put two people in a cage for 18 years because they haven’t done something.”
Martin was shot dead and his body was discovered in a field near his Inkster apartment. Clark and Harrington pleaded not guilty and there was no physical evidence linking them to the crime. Several witnesses had identified another deceased man as a marksman.
Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash
Clark said, “I always knew I was innocent,” so he never gave up on the fact that one day he would be set free. He missed seeing his children, now 18 and 32, grow up. “I can’t make it up to you,” he said. “But from that point on, I’ll do my best.”
“I have crazy beliefs,” added Harrington, relating how he refused to confess to a crime he did not commit, despite being offered a shorter sentence. “I wanted to stand up for what was right.”
His refusal to sign a plea contract had a lot to do with his upbringing. “As a child, my mother always said something to me: ‘If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything. ‘It was something I could never agree to knowing that I was innocent of this crime. “
Clark and Harrington decided to file their lawsuit to prevent the same thing from happening to others. Mueller said former detectives Anthony Abdallah and Kevin Smith “hid evidence pointing to someone else and threatened a single mother with imprisonment for not telling them what they wanted to hear.” He added, “She made up a story involving two men who barely knew each other as co-conspirators of the murder.” Now officials should “be held accountable for the damage they have caused.”
In total, Harrington underwent four attempts. The first verdict was overturned, the next two resulted in hanging juries, and the fourth resulted in a first-degree murder conviction. “I just got through the roof,” he said, adding, “I just feel so incredibly blessed. I’m doing great “
The Wayne County Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit investigated the case for six months and played a major role in Harrington’s release. “We found a very disturbing pattern of behavior from the original senior detective, in which a number of witnesses were threatened and coerced,” said Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the bureau.
“This is an incredible case of police misconduct,” said Attorney Imran Syed, associate director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic. “The only witness against it [Harrington] was clearly coerced by the investigating officer, and she actually overturned all legal proceedings. “Inkster police threatened to take away the witness’s children.
“We have to make sure the light is shining so brightly on it, any officer or detective who wants to do something like this won’t,” said Harrington. “Why? Because they will be held accountable. No matter who you are, you are not above the law.”
2 wrongly convicted men seek justice in a $ 160 million lawsuit against Inkster
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