Six months after his release from a 39-year wrongful stint in prison, Ricky Jackson is filing a lawsuit against the city and the former Cleveland police officers who worked to get him and his friends convicted.
Read Kyle Swenson's original feature on the case and his follow-up feature from late last year.
"It was the misconduct by Cleveland police detectives and those working in concert with them that led to Mr. Jackson’s wrongful conviction," the suit states. "This misconduct included but was not limited to witness manipulation; fabrication, destruction, and suppression of evidence; and perjury. Mr. Jackson therefore...seek[s] redress for the wrongs done to him, as well as to deter future misconduct."
Read the full suit below.
The document outlines who the involved officers were and details the sequence of events surrounding the 1975 murder of Harold Hanks. Despite witnesses and area residents offering suspects to the police at the time, officers "did not conduct any serious investigation" into anyone else. Jackson and the Bridgeman brothers were identified by a 12-year-old witness who would go on to recant years later. The boy was the only one who named the three young men, and his account remained the only piece of evidence seized upon by investigators. Jackson and the two brothers were brought in shortly after the eastside murder.
"During the interrogation, [detectives Eugene] Terpay and [James] Farmer repeatedly put a phone book on Mr. Jackson’s face and other areas of his body and hit him through it so that it would not leave any marks," the suit states. "Defendant Terpay also called Mr. Jackson the 'n——-' word and tried to coerce him into falsely confessing to the crime."
When the boy was called into the station to identify the men, officers "threatened him and told him that if he did not testify against Mr. Jackson, his mother and father would be arrested." Police officers then prepared a written statement for the boy, "falsely implicating Mr. Jackson and the Bridgeman brothers in the crime."
The coercion of the young boy was never brought to light as the case was prosecuted.
Ricky Jackson vs. Cleveland by sandyatscene