An Oklahoma man who was exonerated after spending 15 years in prison for armed robbery claims that Tulsa police fabricated evidence to wrongfully convict him.
Sedrick Courtney said the only evidence tying him to the 1995 robbery was testimony from the victim who claimed to recognize Courtney’s voice.
Courtney believes Tulsa police “intentionally fabricated falsely inculpatory evidence” in order to convict him, according to the 41-page complaint filed in Federal Court Monday. He is suing the city of Tulsa and at least 16 police officers and city employees.
He says there were no fingerprints or any other evidence tying him to the armed robbery. He was not connected to the gun used and had no firearms in his possession. No witnesses saw the two robbers enter or exit the apartment.
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"All the detectives had was a voice identification, and they knew that was not enough," the complaint states. "Faced with this reality, acting individually and in concert, the defendants then intentionally fabricated falsely inculpatory evidence against Mr. Courtney, irreparably and unconstitutionally tainting his criminal trial by distorting the only two pieces of evidence presented against him - faulty and false fair comparison evidence, and fabricated and improperly bolstered details of the victims' identification."
Courtney claims that criminalist Carol Cox either planted or fabricated forensic hair evidence from two ski caps found at the crime scene.
"Among Mr. Courtney's known standard, Cox now claimed to have discovered one, bleached red human hair fragment," the complaint states. "This was false. Sedrick Courtney, who is an African American man with black to very dark brown hair, had never bleached or dyed his hair, and had no red or bleached red head hairs."
He also claims that the city obstructed his request for DNA testing after he was convicted.
In July 2012, Courtney was cleared by DNA evidence. His indictment was dismissed and he was released on parole, according to Courthouse News Service. His innocence was certified in July 2013, the complaint states.
He seeks actual and punitive damages for malicious prosecution, conspiracy, intentional infliction, negligence and civil rights violations.