(WXYZ) — Two men incarcerated for nearly 18 years for a murder they did not commit are now filing a massive lawsuit against former Inkster police detectives and the city. The men are alleging that they were framed after a witness was forced to lie.
The federal lawsuit filed Monday for $160 million names two former Inkster detectives who are accused of framing two innocent men for murder.
“It’s a terrible situation that happened to me and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” said George Clark, the wrongfully convicted.
For George Clark and Kevin Harrington, the second plaintiff in the lawsuit, a murder sentence of nearly 18 years behind bars meant not only missing birthdays, career opportunities and time with loved ones, but also enduring the harshness of life inside prison.
“I was a college student. I would have graduated with my degree in business,” Harrington said. “It’s a very sad thing. One day in prison is too long for something you didn’t do.”
Both young men, back in late 2002, were arrested and charged with the killing of Michael Martin near Henry Ruff and Michigan Avenue in Inkster. They were later convicted.
However, prosecutors with Wayne County Conviction Integrity dismissed the charges in April 2020, finding former investigators, Anthony Abdallah and Kevin Smith, threatened and coerced a single witness who repeatedly claimed she knew nothing. They eventually got her to implicate Clark and Harrington.
“She tells them 23 times over the course of five hours, she doesn’t know who did it," said Wolfgang Mueller of Mueller Law who is representing the men. "They threatened to take her kids away and take her to jail, and she’s a single mother.”
Mueller says the lack of physical evidence is astounding. He credits the remarkable work by the Michigan Innocence Clinic to help expose the truth and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office CIU.
“(We want) to make sure this doesn’t happen to the next kid in Inkster, or some other little town where cops think they can be above the law,” Mueller said.
Now, both Clark and Harrington are looking to start life over and hold those responsible accountable for what they took away.
“All I can do at this point is just go from here, and don’t get caught up on the past," Clark said. "That’s just what it is.”
To this day, Michael Martin's real killer has not been captured. An attorney for the City of Inkster has not yet responded to a request for comment.