Misidentified Four: $1.5 million settlement is a message, but no fix
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The so-called Misidentified Four call Metro Louisville's $1.5 million settlement vindication, but hardly justification for even one night of the weeks they spent in lockup, wrongfully accused.
"I'm not the same person I was before I got in," Shaquazz Allen said. "I'm happy, but not like happy like I was. I don't go outside a lot. I can't sleep."
Allen, 19, Tyrone Booker, 20, and 21-year-olds Jerron Bush and Craig Dean maintain they couldn't help but be changed after being charged as suspects in a night of violence at the Big Four Bridge, at First & Liberty and in the West End last March 22.
To make it right, Bush said, all officers need to follow established police procedure, which didn't happen when the young men were arrested, according to their attorneys.
"They were trained and they didn't follow their training," counsel Al Gehrhardstein said.
"These officers turned off their recording devices deliberately," Jan Waddell added.
"They blew it on this case," Larry Simon said.
The mistakes began by keeping the victims together, thereby tainting any identification of suspects, the legal team said. Their clients were the only young men arranged in the line-up, and the victims named only two of the four.
"These young men were wearing clothing that did not match what the victims had actually identified to the police," Gehrhardstein said.
In a written statement, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad characterized those actions as mistakes rather than deliberate acts. "The officers have been counseled and retrained about proper procedures," the statement read.
"They're going to have to do more than send out an informational bulletin to the officers to get it right in the future," Simon said.
Mayor Greg Fischer has called the settlement fair and a way for all parties to move past it.
"I apologize to them as well," the mayor said Wednesday."This is something nobody wants to see happen to anybody ."
"It shows Louisville is not Ferguson," Waddell said. "Indicates that they are sincere at this time about making the police accountable and making them follow their own procedures."
Dean finds peace of mind in the Mayor's apology, and sees the settlement as a chance to start over and to pursue personal dreams. But he doubts the victims themselves may ever see justice.
"(Police) are going to look at everybody the same," Dean said. "They're gonna see everyone as if they're one of them."
Louisville will always be home, Booker said. But he can't live here anymore.
"I'm going to move me and my family somewhere where we can at least enjoy life," he said. "And not look over our shoulders."
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