Nevest Coleman, who served 23 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn’t commit, has filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit against police officers, the City of Chicago, a former prosecutor, and the county.
In 1994, Coleman found Antwinica Bridgeman’s body in his mother’s basement, and police picked him up as a suspect, along with his friend Darryl Fulton. Both of the men reported that they were coerced into confessing to the crime, but recanted right away. They were sentenced to life in prison anyway.
Coleman testified during a pretrial hearing that one of the detectives called him “a lying-assed n—–” and hit him in the face with his fist.
Fulton said police showed him Coleman’s statement and ordered him to confess. He said a detective hit him in the head and said, “I should take you somewhere and put a bullet in your brain.”
Last year, prosecutors threw out the charges after semen on the victim’s clothes matched a serial rapist.
Russell Ainsworth, one of Coleman’s attorneys, said that authorities need to reinvestigate the cases tied to detectives involved in the two men’s cases. He didn’t specify how much compensation Coleman seeks from the lawsuit.
“Whatever a jury thinks it’s worth to be taken as an innocent man, placed in maximum security prison for 23 years, ripped from your family, being in prison while your parents die, and then to be brought out to society at 48 years old with no work history, no retirement savings, with no ability to live in our digital age,” he said.
“I was sitting in prison 23 years, I was thinking I was never going to see my people again, never going to see my family,” said Coleman, whose parents both died while he was in prison. “I lost a lot of people… a lot of years I can never get back.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time someone has been wrongfully convicted in the city of Chicago. Just last November, a man was released from prison after serving 29 years for double murder and arson he didn’t commit.
When Arthur Brown was arrested for setting fire to a South Side video store to collect insurance money in 1988, he had no criminal record and said he had nothing to do with the crime.
“There was no physical evidence, no forensic evidence, no eyewitness, there was nothing against Arthur,” Ron Safer, Brown’s attorney, said. “He was a victim of police brutality. He had a confession beat out of him. Prosecutors knew it was fraudulent.”