Detroit awards $7.5 million to man who says police framed him for murder he didn’t commit

In the past year, Detroit has shelled out nearly $25 million to settle three wrongful conviction lawsuits

click to enlarge Detroit police car. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Detroit police car.

A wrongfully imprisoned man who claims Detroit police framed him for a murder he didn’t commit will receive $7.5 million as part of a lawsuit settlement with the city.

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday agreed to the payout.

Desmond Ricks spent 25 years in prison before his conviction was overturned in 2017, based on ballistic evidence that showed police mishandled critical evidence.

He was convicted of fatally shooting a friend outside the Top Hat in 1992. Police claimed the murder weapon was a gun that belonged to Ricks’ mother.

In 2016, the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law school urged a judge to reopen the case, pointing to experts who said the .38 caliber bullets found in the victim’s body could not have come from the same gun.

Former Detroit police detectives David Pauch and Donald Stawiasz were accused of switching bullets to gain a conviction.

In 2018, a state program that compensates wrongfully convicted people awarded Ricks $1 million.

In the past year, the city has shelled out nearly $25 million in taxpayer money to settle three wrongful conviction lawsuits. Another 16 wrongful conviction lawsuits are still wending their way through the judicial system.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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