3 black men released from New York prison after 24 years. The judge ruled that the prosecutors withheld evidence of her innocence
It doesn’t seem to be more than a couple of weeks for The Root to tell another story about wrongly convicted black men who were released from prison after years and even decades behind bars for crimes they committed premeditated Negligence and indifference of law enforcement had not committed and courts.
In 1996 George Bell, Rohan Bolt and Gary Johnson were arrested and convicted of the murder of an off duty police officer and the owner of a check cashing store in Queens, NY. On Friday, a judge ordered discharge and release from prison, it was found that evidence of her innocence was “deliberately withheld” from her lawyers.
From the Washington Post:
“After I was convicted of capital murder, I couldn’t imagine how God would allow the judicial system I believed in to fail me in such a tragic way,” said Bell, who was responsible for the murder confessed to the shooting of the deaths of New York police officer Charles Davis and another man, Ira Epstein, whose check cashing business in Queens was robbed on the morning of December 21, 1996.
Though Bell and Johnson, then 19 and 22 years old, respectively, had both confessed, they were “subjected to interrogation” and their statements “bear all the hallmarks of false confessions that have led to false convictions in the past,” a motion filed on Friday previously filed by private attorneys and public defenders who were involved in efforts to overturn their convictions.
At the time of the crimes, Bell had a job with an Old Navy and Johnson was a shop clerk. They had no previous convictions or knew Bolt, whose authorities claimed they were their accomplices in the botched robbery.
Bell gave a confession “full of inconsistencies and inaccuracies, a product of the fact that he was given his details by detectives working on incomplete and inaccurate information,” the lawyers wrote.
Bolt, then 35 and a father of four who owned a Caribbean restaurant, never confessed. He was arrested on the basis of an identification of an alleged witness with a history of drug use and “no known connection to the crime,” the court said with the case history.
The story goes on
Neither Bell nor Johnson would be the first, or possibly even the 1,000th black man in America to be forced to confess to crimes of which they were innocent. Black people tricked into making false confessions is a policing practice that is far more common than many law enforcement agencies would lead you to believe – this is well documented.
In fact, this story is eerily reminiscent of that of the Central Park Five – mostly because the discharge of these three men, similar to the case of the Five, hasn’t changed the fact that some still feel they are guilty in effect.
According to the Post, Patrick J. Lynch, president of the New York Police Benevolent Association, was very crazy about the exoneration of Bell, Johnson and Bolt and made a statement saying Davis’ family was “devastated by the possibility that no one will be held accountable for his murder. “
“There is absolutely no reason to get these convicted cop killers back on the streets,” said Lynch (whose last name seems appropriate) if Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz “doesn’t believe there is enough evidence to prove their innocence ‘The suspects should stay in jail until everyone is satisfied that they are not criminals.
Imagine if your freedom were so trivialized because law enforcement officials would rather blame the wrongly convicted for why the families of the murder victims did not get justice than the severely flawed and racist justice system that created the situation.
More from the post:
As of 2019, disclosures on an unrelated matter revealed evidence suggesting that others were potentially responsible – information that emerged during the men’s prosecution and that law says should be made immediately available to their attorneys.
Bell, Bolt, and Johnson attorneys argued there was no physical evidence linking the men to the crime. However, there was evidence that a robbery crew known as the Speedstick was involved, but prosecutors admitted the support notes that were withheld from the defense attorneys.
However, some law enforcement officials would rather keep innocent black men in jail than admit that what should have been due in this case was a botched trial that created more victims and did no justice to anyone.