'Englewood Four' Sue Chicago Police, Cook County State's Attorneys Who Framed Them for Rape and Murder They Didn't Commit
The MacArthur Justice Center filed a lawsuit in 2013 on behalf of Terrill Swift, one of four men who, as teenagers, were wrongfully convicted of murder and spent years in prison for a crime they didn't commit. Known as the "Englewood Four," Terrill Swift, Harold Richardson, Michael Saunders and Vincent Thames—ranging from 15 to 18 years of age at the time of their arrest—were framed for the rape and murder of Nina Glover in 1994 despite the fact that no physical evidence linked them to the crime and DNA evidence taken from the victim exonerated them, according to the suit.
The suit alleges that Chicago police officers ignored evidence linking Johnny Douglas, a.k.a. "Maniac"—a man with a lengthy and violent criminal history who was at the scene of the crime the morning the body was found—to the crime, and instead pursued the teenagers as the perpetrators. According to the lawsuit, police, including Chicago detectives notorious for engaging in unlawful investigative practices, systematically brought in each teen over the course of a few days and used "deceit, intimidation, threats…prolonged isolation…and outright physical coercion" to elicit a confession from each young man. According to the suit, this coercion included pounding on one teen's chest using a phone book and a flashlight; promising to release the young men if they confessed to the crime; denying requests to contact family members or consult an attorney; and threatening to take one teen behind the police station and shoot him if he did not confess. Based solely on these false confessions, all four teens were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison.
When a DNA profile in 2011 confirmed that Johnny Douglas had raped and murdered Glover, the 'Englewood Four' filed a joint petition to vacate their convictions. Their convictions were vacated late in 2011, and they were granted certificates of innocence in 2012. Each man spent at least 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.