“It was a long and difficult battle:” Indiana’s male wife and children were forced into shelter after his false conviction, now he received a $ 7.5 million settlement.

Keith Cooper reportedly received the largest settlement paid in a tort proceeding in Indiana.

Cooper, 54, was released after serving in prison for more than eight years when new evidence revealed that he had been arrested on suspicion of armed robbery. The Governor pardoned him in 2017. That same year, he filed a civil suit against Elkhart, Indiana, a former police chief, and four policemen.

Keith Cooper, 54, received $ 7 million in a settlement with Elkhart, Indiana, for his tort conviction in 1997.  (Photo: YouTube / WGN News)

Keith Cooper, 54, received $ 7 million in a settlement with Elkhart, Indiana, for his tort conviction in 1997. (Photo: YouTube / WGN News)

On Wednesday, May 4, city officials announced that Cooper had won a $ 7.5 million civil suit. Another black man, Christopher’s Parish, his co-defendant in the criminal case, received $ 5 million in a settlement with the city in 2014.

“It was a long and difficult battle. I’ve been waiting for this day for 14 years and now I’m here,” Cooper said. Said.. “There is no amount of money I can regain the time I lost, but it helps to build a better tomorrow for me and my family.”

Cooper recently moved from Chicago to Indiana in October 1996. At that time, he and Parish were arrested for a burglary in Michael Kershner’s apartment. Kershner, his mother, and four friends said two black men broke into the apartment and shot a 17-year-old woman in her abdomen.

Cooper was arrested for snatching his wallet in January 1997, and former Elkhart detective Steve Lesbian noticed that Cooper looked like a computerized sketch of a shooter in the case of Kirschner. So he included Cooper’s photographs in his photo lineup, and Kershner, his mother, and another witness chose Cooper from a series of photographs.

At trial, the detective testified that a prison whistleblower had told him that Cooper had confessed to committing a crime. But another prisoner later came forward and said the story was made up. He said the detective promised him a deal in exchange for his testimony.

Four witnesses withdrew their testimony. Kershner and his mother said Rezutoko rejected the request for a live lineup. He also pointed out Cooper in the court corridor so that he could be identified during the trial.

A DNA test of the hat left by the shooter on the scene showed that it was not Cooper’s. It was reportedly associated with a man currently working for murder in Michigan. In addition, a crime scene technician reportedly said during his testimony at the Parish trial that he had no blood in his apartment.

Cooper was released from prison in 2006. He has filed a parole with the Parole Commission, which was not approved until 2014. Governor Eric Holcomb granted Cooper an innocent amnesty in 2017.

Elkhart city officials apologized on Wednesday, May 4, for how the city handled the case in the 1990s and for the “suffering” he experienced. When Cooper was put in jail, his wife had to sell their belongings, and the family lived in a shelter, reports show.

“We hope that this reconciliation will reach a conclusion on the obvious injustices brought to Mr. Cooper,” said Elkhart spokeswoman Corinne Straight. “The current administration and current leadership of the Elkhart Police Station have begun to take the path of accountability in the hope that this type of incident will never happen again.”

Elliott Slozer, a lawyer in Cooper’s civil lawsuit, said he welcomed the apology, but urged city officials to begin investigating all cases filed by officers in the proceedings.

Rezutko reportedly committed suicide in 2019 shortly after the city revealed that it had retired in response to an internal investigation into its sexual relationship with a female informant. She Rezutko, the report shows, she left the Elkhart police station in 2001 and she had a letter of recommendation that would allow her to be rehired at another agency.

“Mr. Cooper’s tort conviction was neither a coincidence nor anomalous.” Slosar Said.

Cooper, a three-father and 15-year-old grandfather, has spent time defending other falsely convicted people since moving to Chicago. Cooper told reporters that he would take all his grandchildren to Disney World, buy an RV, and spend some of his money on an expedition to Canada.

“I’m just overwhelmed. I’m a newcomer. Keith told my wife.” I’m free … I can be things. I can go to places. “

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