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Darryl Fulton holds back tears as he describes the feeling of being released from Menard Correctional Facility on Nov. 20, 2017 in Chester, Ill. Fulton has spent 8,607 days in prison after a 1994 wrongful murder and rape conviction. Fulton is surrounded by his family and lawyer, from left, Kathleen Zellner, daughter Jaszulyn Fulton, mother Dorothy Davis, niece Imone Griffin and great-niece Peoria Barber.

(Steve Maztker/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

Chase Refuses To Deposit Check For Wrongfully Convicted Black Man Twice

Just last November Darryl Fulton and his co-defendant Nevest Coleman were released after spending 23 years in jail for the 1994 murder of 20-year-old Antwinica Bridgeman, who disappeared after her birthday. Coleman discovered Bridgeman’s body in an abandoned basement of the home where his family resided. While no physical evidence linked Coleman or Fulton to the attack, both men say they were coerced into confessing by detectives with a history of alleged misconduct. Both say they were abused by the Chicago police and despite recanting their confessions, the men had been sentenced to life behind bars when new DNA evidence was discovered matching a serial rapist. Prosecutors dropped all charges against Fulton and Coleman and this March a Cook County Judge awarded the men certificates of innocence. Fulton has been working at a factory since his release, but when he recently attempted to deposit a large check from the state for missed compensation during his imprisonment his lawyer says he experienced discrimination yet again.

According to NY Daily News reports:

Kathleen Zellner criticized Chase for not allowing Fulton to deposit a $169,876 check from the state at its bank branch on 79th Street and Cicero Avenue, questioning whether racism played a part. The first time Fulton tried to deposit the money, Zellner said, the bank said she would have to endorse the check because her firm’s name was under his, though Fulton’s name was on the “pay to the order of” line.

Zellner said the law firm’s name was on the check because it was mailed to her office.

The second time, Zellner said, Chase contended Fulton signed above her name and the check would need to be deposited in her account. Zellner got on the phone with the bank but employees wouldn’t deposit it, she said.

How many folks have experienced this kind of treatment at a bank?

Seems like Chase needs to make this one right IMMEDIATELY.

The bank has already issued a statement regarding Darryl Fulton’s experience

In a statement, Chase said it “should have accepted (Fulton’s) check during his initial visit.” The bank did not specifically address whether Fulton’s race was a factor.

“We did offer to deposit the check on his return visit and have reached out to him to clear up any confusion,” the bank said. “We regret the error and apologize for the inconvenience.”

Zellner disputes Chase’s claim they offered to accept the check and says Fulton will be changing banks. She added that he has a new check from her client account that he will deposit elsewhere.

“I find it particularly outrageous because he was wrongfully convicted,” Zellner said. “The check is from the state of Illinois to him and I can’t attribute any other reason except they’re discriminating against him because he’s a black male.”

Fulton’s check comes from a state fund for wrongly imprisoned people. Zellner has represented numerous wrongly convicted men and said she’s never had a problem with her clients depositing their checks before.

You may recognize Fulton’s co-defendant Nevest Coleman from numerous media stories about him returning to his old job as a groundskeeper with the Chicago White Sox. Both he and Fulton have filed civil lawsuits against the city of Chicago. Seems like they may be making more large deposits in the future so Chase lost out on some big money customers.



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