An $8 million settlement is set to get a nod from San Francisco supervisors to compensate a man who served a murder sentence he did not commit but was alleged to have been framed by the police.
The now 54-year-old Maurice Caldwell has been locked up in prison for a couple of decades. He was condemned in 1990 for second-degree murder in Ellsworth Street’s Alemany housing project shooting.
The Northern California Innocence Project and a Pasadena law firm filed a lawsuit in 2012 over erroneous imprisonment. According to the lawsuit, Caldwell’s conviction was based on the testimony of “a single, unreliable eyewitness identification obtained by unnecessarily suggestive procedures.”
The man’s conviction was overturned by a judge, which led to his release in 2011. Caldwell maintained his innocence over the years.
The City Attorney’s office has negotiated Caldwell’s settlement which still needs the Board of Supervisors’ approval. The settlement is expected to be attained Tuesday.
While the monetary settlement was welcome, the Northern California Innocence Project’s co-founder and Executive Director Linda Starr, said it is not enough.
“No amount of money can give back to Mr. Caldwell or his family the 20 years he spent wrongfully incarcerated,” she said. “But this settlement, though far too long in coming, finally recognizes the harm that San Francisco caused him, and provides him the resources to continue his life and provide for his family.”
The City Attorney’s office, who stood firm in their stand that the police had done nothing incorrect, could not be contacted immediately for their side.
The police department and San Francisco were sued by Caldwell over their connections with Mary Cobbs.
Cobbs died while Caldwell was detained.
Caldwell’s suit stated that a police sergeant picked him up on the street and brought him to Cobb’s door. The police then identified him to Cobb by his name and Twone, as his nickname.
But Cobbs told a police interview that she did not recognize the shooter by name.
After a couple of weeks, she pointed out to Caldwell out of the photos, claiming that people call him by the nickname, San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The suit added that the police had made up Caldwell’s statement. He was allegedly framed because he is Black and also, his father was known to have shot to death a police officer.