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Thursday, May 14, 2020

3 Innocent Black Men Awarded $18 Million Settlement After Serving 39 Years in Prison

Three Black men awarded $18 million settlement for wrong imprisonment

Nationwide — Three men from Cleveland, Ohio — 63-year old Rickey Jackson, 65-year old Wiley Bridgeman, and 62-year old Kwame Ajamu — have been awarded a settlement for $18 million nearly 45 years after their wrongful conviction and imprisonment in connection to a robbery and murder case in 1975.

Jackson, Bridgeman, and his brother Ajamu, formerly known as Ronnie Bridgeman, were then aged 18, 20, 17 when they were accused and convicted for the deadly robbery of Harold Franks.

They were convicted based solely on a testimony of a 12-year old boy, which eventually turned out to be false testimony. The boy admitted that he was coerced by Cleveland police to provide wrongful testimony during the trial.

The three men were all exonerated and freed in 2014.

“For 45 years, our clients never gave up hope that someday their nightmare would be over,” said their attorney, Terry Gilbert. “That time has come with this final resolution providing some measure of justice and closure. But the physical and emotional trauma our clients were forced to endure is an example of the deep flaws of a racist criminal legal system focused on results rather than truth and justice.”

The three have reached an $18 million settlement following a lawsuit against the city of Cleveland for police misconduct, falsifying evidence, and coercing a witness. It is reportedly the largest settlement ever made in the history of the state of Ohio.