CHICAGO (WLS) — On Friday, five men hope to truly get beyond their past.
Decades served in prison for wrongful convictions have derailed chances of careers, despite receiving certificates of innocence.
“About 40+ individuals struggling to survive, struggling to keep afloat to keep families together while they delay the process,” said exoneree Nelson Gonzalez.
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Five civil rights lawsuits were filed on Friday against the city, naming disgraced former Chicago Police Sergeant Reynaldo Guevara.
Guevara is accused of framing dozens of men and women for murders between the 1980s and the early 2000s. Now, there is a growing number of cases against the city, seeking financial compensation for those wrongfully convicted.
“We need help you put us on the street and tell us to live. How? How? Whether we have a certification of innocence or not, because we don’t have proof of what we’ve done for the last 28 years,” said exoneree Roosevelt Myles.
“Our clients, just these here today, spent a collective 130 years wrongfully convicted in the Department of Corrections their lives were obliterated,” said Jennifer Bonjean.
Bonjean represents the exonerees.
“Anything we want for our own children, they should be given, and they shouldn’t be fighting for it, because they are. Did too much time, and they already have been harmed too much,” Bonjean said.
READ MORE | Marilyn Mulero sues Chicago, disgraced CPD detectives for allegedly framing her for murder
Fabian Santiago had just turned 16 years old when he was arrested, and he served 29 years in prison.
“The city council can easily put pressure on the city’s law department to resolve these litigations, which take years of our lives in addition to the travesty we already suffered,” Santiago said.
A spokesperson for the city of Chicago’s law department said they have not been served and have no comment on the cases at this time.