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Black people being railroaded in the criminal justice system is nothing new but fortunately, these days, people are working hard to free as many of the falsely convicted as they can.

Darien Harris of Chicago was the unfortunate victim of the aforementioned railroading at the tender age of 18 when he was sentenced to 76 years in prison after his 2014 murder conviction for a shooting that took place at a South Side gas station in 2011.

According to an AP News report, part of the reason Harris was found guilty was because of the testimony of a “witness” who identified him as the shooter. The Exoneration Project (TEP) was able to prove that the witness had advanced glaucoma and had lied about eyesight problems. After serving almost 13 years in prison, Darien Harris finally came home at the age of 30.

Since 2009, TEP has helped over 200 falsely convicted persons, according to AP News and 12 of those were in Chicago’s notoriously corrupt Cook County.

Additional reporting by the Chicago Tribune states that Harris has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago and several police officers involved with his case.

“The federal complaint alleges Harris’ conviction was the result of “egregious misconduct” by police who “fabricated evidence, including false witness statements and identifications through such tactics as coercion, threats, fact-feeding, and promises of leniency.” It argues Harris’ wrongful conviction was not “an isolated incident” but rather “part of patterns and practices of systemic police misconduct” at Area 2 headquarters,” reports the Tribune. 

Harris told the Tribune that his life is in shambles as he struggles to move forward despite being robbed of over a decade of his life to accomplish his goals and live his dreams.

“I don’t have any financial help. I’m still (treated like) a felon so I can’t get a good job. It’s hard for me to get into school,” he said. “I’ve been so lost. … I feel like they took a piece of me that is hard for me to get back.”

It was not noted how much compensation Harris is seeking, but we reckon that it is a very substantial number that can help him leap the hurdles that have been put in his path by the insidious murder conviction.

We will provide updates and additional information as it becomes available.

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