Exonerated Chicago Man Sues City, Police Officers After Spending 30 Years in Prison

By: Kelton Brooks

A 53-year-old Chicago man is seeking justice after serving 30 years in prison, stating police officers severely mistreated him and falsified evidence to frame him for a crime he did not commit.  

Keith Walker, then 23, was sentenced to life at a maximum security prison after being charged with 1st-degree murder in 1994 for shooting 18-year-old Shawn Wicks in the chest, back and legs, killing him. No physical evidence ever connected Walker to the crime.  

Walker has filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago and several top police officers, including Cmdr. Jon Burge’s “Midnight Crew.” Walker said Burge’s crew tortured him and manipulated evidence.

Related: Judge: Exonerated Five Prosecutor Can Sue Netflix for ‘When They See Us’ 

Burge died in 2018.  

According to the lawsuit, Walker had to confess to the murder, adding the confessions obtained were “the product of abuse by police detectives working under now-infamous Commander Jon Burge.”

The lawsuit says Walker was locked in a cage, led to the interrogation room and slammed against the wall by one of the defendants. Walker was not told why he was arrested and was denied a call to his attorney. He cried and begged the officers to stop, the lawsuit states.  

Prosecutors dropped Walker’s case in 2020 and the Illinois Department of Corrections released him. He said he did not file the suit for financial gain, but to bring awareness to the abuse he endured.  

“Money comes and goes,” said Walker, who wore a white tee with the hashtag #ImInnocent emblazoned on the back in bold blue lettering at a news conference. “But you don’t. You’ll get a front-row seat experience of the extremes the police will go through to get a confession on a crime you had nothing to do with.”

Related: Lydell Grant released from prison after DNA evidence cleared wrongful conviction 

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