New York City Sued By Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For Decades

Two New York City men spent decades in jail – for something they didn’t do. And now one of the men is suing New York City after being exonerated of the crimes.

Antonio Yarbough and Shariff Wilson were accused and convicted of the 1992 murders of Yarbough’s mother, sister, and cousin. The two, who were teens at the time of the murders, spent more than 21 years in prison before being released last year.

Yarbough and Wilson were released from the New York correctional facility after DNA evidence proved that the two were innocent. And while Wilson died in January, Yarbough is pursuing a case suing New York City for damages done to both of them. The suit was filed in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Yarbough tried to settle with New York City’s comptroller, Scott Stringer, but after a lengthy hearing in that office that ended in July, Yarbough was offered no settlement, which is why he is taking it to the courts.

Yarbough has not specified the amount he is asking for in this settlement. But he is sharing details about the case that landed him in jail.

Yarbough states in paperwork filed that he came home to his Brooklyn apartment to find “his mother, his 12-year-old sister and a friend of the sister were dead,” according to the New York Times.

Once Yarbough called the police, he and his friend were quickly fingered as the murderers. Yarbough accuses that the New York City police “coerced Mr. Wilson into a videotaped confession” and “had Mr. Yarbough sign his name to a written statement.”

Wilson, before dying in January, was quoted on the Huffington Post as saying, “I was scared, afraid; I was lied to, manipulated into believing that I was going to go home, if I do tell… what they said happened.”

Yarbough’s attorney has stated that, “Nothing can ever give him back his family or those 22 years, but we expect this litigation to make even clearer the very serious police misconduct that was done at that time.”

This isn’t the first time that New York City has been sued over wrongful convictions. Kenneth Thompson, the Brooklyn District Attorney responsible for getting Wilson and Yarbough released, is said to be worried about “a metastasizing wrongful conviction scandal in which dozens of imprisoned men have asked for freedom, their convictions linked to mistakes and misconduct by police and prosecutors in the violent, drug-plagued 1980s and 1990s.”

New York City, particularly Thompson’s Brooklyn office, is currently looking into more than 100 convictions and has already had to vacate 12 convictions.

[Photo Courtesy of The North Star News]