Request Line: (870) 277-1080 [email protected]
Text Your Gift to KLEK1 to 44-321 LEARN MORE

Your Community Radio Station is possible thanks to this supporter!  Become an underwriter.

City of Cleveland to Pay $18 Million to Rickey Jackson, Wiley Bridgeman and Kwame Ajamu for Decades of Wrongful Imprisonment
(photo of wrongfully convicted brothers Wiley Bridgeman and Kwame Ajamu via moguldom.com)

Earlier this month, the city of Cleveland agreed to pay a combined $18 million to Rickey Jackson, Wiley Bridgeman and his brother Kwame Ajamu, three men who spent decades in prison for a 1975 killing they did not commit, according to cleveland.com.

The trio reached this settlement during an 12-hour mediation held by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, and will end the lawsuits each man filed for the time they spent behind bars.

To quote from the cleveland.com article:

The men, now in their 60s, were convicted of murder in 1975 for the shooting of money order collector Harold Franks at what was then the Fairmont Cut Rate Store on the city’s East Side. The trio maintained their innocence and were cleared in 2014.

Jackson had served 39 years in prison and was believed at the time to have served the longest amount of time behind bars of anyone wrongfully convicted of a crime.

Ajamu, with tears frequently streaming down his face, said they were accepting the settlement because “we now know that you have no other reason and no other recourse but to tell the world that you wronged three little black boys 45 years ago.”

While thanking his lawyers Terry Gilbert and Jacqueline Greene of Friedman & Gilbert, Ajamu expressed gratitude but did not downplay the long fight he, his brother and friend undertook to clear their names.

“Money cannot buy freedom and money certainly does not make innocence,” said Ajamu, who in addition to Gilbert and Greene was also represented by attorney David Mills.

A jury in August 1975 found Jackson, Bridgeman and Ajamu, then known as Ronnie Bridgeman, guilty of murdering Franks. They were also convicted of trying to kill store owner Anna Robinson. Cuyahoga County prosecutors relied on the eyewitness testimony of young Eddie Vernon to prove their case.

A judge sentenced the men to death, though the sentences were reduced to life in 1978 when the state enacted a short-lived moratorium on the death penalty.

Nearly 40 years later, Vernon recanted his testimony and judges overturned the men’s criminal convictions. Vernon, who was 12 years old when Franks was killed, said in 2014 that city detectives pressured him to lie on the witness stand, which included threats to jail his parents, and that police manipulated him.

Bridgeman, 65, and Jackson, 63, were released in 2014 with the help of the Ohio Innocence Project, which obtained Vernon’s recantation. Ajamu, 62, was paroled in 2003. The story of the murder and the work done to secure their freedom was chronicled in a book called “Good Kids, Bad City” written by Kyle Swenson, now a reporter for The Washington Post who covered the case for the alternative weekly Cleveland Scene.

After their names were cleared, the men sought compensation. The state paid millions of dollars for the time they spent behind bars through cases filed in the Ohio Court of Claims.

The men also filed suit in federal court in 2015 against the city and former detectives for what they said was a culture of racist and unethical cops who would often do anything to close a case. Several of the officers named in the suit have since died.

Read more: https://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/2020/05/cleveland-to-pay-18-million-to-trio-who-spent-decades-in-prison-for-wrongful-1975-murder-convictions.html

(paid link)

Original article source: https://goodblacknews.org/2020/05/26/city-of-cleveland-to-pay-18-million-to-rickey-jackson-wiley-bridgeman-and-kwame-ajamu-for-decades-of-wrongful-imprisonment/ | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

0 0 vote
Article Rating

Related Articles

The Ailing American Income

The economic pinch is tightening the longer the world is crippled by the pandemic. The weekly jobless claim is up to 3.2 million, and 14.7% unemployment for April. Meanwhile, how Read more

Charles Barkley to Sell Memorabilia to Build Affordable Housing in his Alabama Hometown

NBA great Charles Barkley (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)According to the Washington Post, former NBA superstar Charles Barkley is selling his 1993 NBA MVP trophy and an Olympic gold medal among other Read more

Democratic Debate Preview

In this Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 photo, the stage for the Democratic presidential primary debate is shown before Wednesday’s debate in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)Tonight, all roads lead to the Read more

Poll: Majority Now Support Impeachment

President Trump is facing a real challenge to his time in office as the majority of Americans now approve of impeachment and nearly half are calling for his removal.  The Read more

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Your Community Radio Station is possible thanks to this supporter!  Become an underwriter.

Pin It on Pinterest