Wrongfully-convicted man who spent 39 years in prison sues Cleveland, police

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Ricky Jackson (File photo)

CLEVELAND- A Cleveland man who spent 39 years in prison for a murder he did not commit filed a lawsuit against the city and several former police officers on Tuesday.

In 1978, Ricky Jackson, then 18 years old, was sentenced to death for the murder of salesman Harold Franks. Jackson and his two friends, Ronnie and Wiley Bridgeman, were convicted on the testimony of a 12-year-old boy, who later recanted his statement. Jackson was released from prison in November after a judge dismissed the charges.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District court for the Northern District of Ohio, accuses officers of fabricated evidence and violating several Constitutional rights. Jackson is seeking damages as well as asking for a jury trial for the officers involved.

Mayor’s office spokesman Dan Williams said the city does not comment on ongoing litigation.

“Mr. Jackson served four decades in prison for a crime he had nothing to do with.  This lawsuit seeks compensation for that grievous injustice,” said pJackson’s attorney Jon Loevy, in a news release on Tuesday. “We now know substantially more about the fallibility of eyewitness identifications.  Too many people have been sent to prison wrongfully based on bogus identifications.”

The Ohio Court of Claims awarded Jackson $1 million for false imprisonment in March.

Continuing coverage of Ricky Jackson here.