Picked up on a bogus drug charge, scholarship student Jermaine Walker
had his young life irretrievably side-tracked by cop frame-up
CHICAGO – After spending a decade in prison on a bogus drug charge, Jermaine Walker, 39, today sued the police who framed him. In 2006 Walker was on a full scholarship at Fisk University studying computer science and researching superconductivity when a police frame-up in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood tragically side-tracked his young life.
Police officers Michael White, Eric Reyes, Sebastian Flatley and Brian Daly allegedly planted drugs and hid evidence in order to win a false felony conviction of possessing drugs within 1000 feet of a school. Only thanks to the efforts of Ingrid Gill, a dedicated public defender who reinvestigated the case, was the hidden evidence uncovered and in March of this year his conviction was overturned, all charges were dismissed, and he was subsequently granted a Certificate of Innocence.
Mr. Walker and his attorneys will speak publicly about the case for the first time today at a 2:30 PM press conference at 311 N. Aberdeen Street, 3rd floor, on Chicago’s Near West Side. Mr. Walker is represented by Jon Loevy, Russell Ainsworth, Gretchen Helfrich and Elizabeth Mazur of the civil rights firm Loevy & Loevy.
In 2006, police pulled over Mr. Walker and his brother after they exited the parking lot of a J.J. Peppers convenience store at the intersection of Lawrence Avenue and Sheridan Road. They pulled their car over into an alley which just happened to have several security cameras. In the alley police beat him, planted drugs on him, and falsely claimed the brothers were trying to sell them.
To try to stop the beating, Mr. Walker loudly noted that there were several security cameras in the alley and that they would be “stupid” to attempt drug sales in such a location. The beatings continued.
After the brothers’ arrest, the Cook County States Attorney’s Office sent an investigator, Thomas Finnelly, to the alleged crime scene to take pictures, including of any security cameras. Because evidence of the security cameras would discredit the police version, Finnelly intentionally photographed the alley to make it appear that there were no security cameras present, and at Mr. Walker’s trial he and the officers who testified all denied under oath that there were any such cameras. Only a decade later would the Court finally credit Ms. Gill’s evidence and set Mr. Walker free, stating: “it is very disturbing and upsetting, especially as a judge, to be involved in a system where an officer, especially an officer of the court, would come in and swear under oath to something that was not true.”.
Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms, and over the past decade has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country. A copy of the lawsuit, Jermaine Walker v. Michael White, Eric Reyes, Sebastian Flatley, Brian Daly, the City of Chicago, et al., No. 1:16-cv-07024, can be found here.
Mr. Walker in 2006 and 2016: