Wrongfully convicted man vows to serve his community – now he’s a police officer

MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio - From prison to police officer.

A man who spent 13 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit takes a vow to serve his community. Anthony Michael Green is now an auxiliary police officer in Maple Heights.

It was an emotional ceremony Thursday evening for 52-year-old Michael Green, as Mayor Annette Blackwell swore him in as a Maple Heights auxiliary police officer.

"If you really want to see a difference, if you really want to make a difference, stop crying on the outside, come to the inside, join it, be a part of it and make a difference," said Green.

Michael's road to law enforcement was a long, tough journey.

In 2001, he was released from prison after spending 13 years behind bars for a rape that he didn't commit.

DNA evidence exonerated him and the actual rapist eventually came forward.

Michael says even though he lost nearly a decade of his life, he wanted to focus on helping people after he was released, without resentment.

"If you had asked me that 25 years ago, I would have said yes, but when you look at resentment or anger or bitterness, it's like trying to put a tomato seed in a bottle of salt and trying to grow it. It's not gonna happen," he said.

"It's kind of an exceptional story. This is not your normal application that you get," said Maple Heights police chief Todd Hansen.

Hansen says he learned of Michael's situation while doing a background check after he applied for a job.

"Here's a guy who basically was wronged by the system, who now wants to dedicate his life to making a positive change in other people's lives. How do you pass that up?" said the chief.

"People like him don't always get a second chance, but that's not the case in Maple Heights. There's a lot of second chances," said Mayor Blackwell.

"When I first tried to get into a security company, when I came home I was told just flat-out that whether you were wrongfully convicted or not, you've still been in prison," said Green.

Michael Green says he decided to go into law enforcement after he was released from prison.

As you might imagine, while behind bars, he had resentment for police."But upon educating myself on the concept of change, I started seeing a different light," said Green.