(WXYZ & ASSOCIATED PRESS) — Rick Wershe Jr., who many know as "White Boy Rick," has filed a federal lawsuit against FBI agents, Detroit police and others for use as a teen informant and alleged retaliation by the justice system.
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He's seeking $100 million, claiming he was coerced into assisting police while just a helpless teenager.
Richard Wershe Jr., 52, served roughly 30 years in prison in Michigan before his release in 2017, followed by a few more years in a Florida prison for an unrelated crime.
According to the lawsuit, he served the longest sentence bestowed on a minor for a nonviolent offense in the history of Michigan.
Wershe’s lawsuit in federal court in Detroit alleges that his troubles in the 1980s were related to the pressures of pleasing local police and federal agents who used him as an informant and repeatedly sent him into drug dens.
The lawsuit alleges that Wershe, as a young teen, was compelled to help law enforcement out of fear, and that the FBI reportedly tried to hide his involvement by using his father's name in official files.
It also details how Wershe reportedly was used to engage in dangerous criminal drug-related activities, and how that involvement eventually led to his arrest and 1987 sentencing to life without the possibility of parole.
Wershe’s story was the basis of the 2018 film “White Boy Rick,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Richie Merritt. The title referred to Wershe’s nickname in his younger days, a nickname he dislikes.
His attorney, Nabih Ayad, acknowledged that Detroit and others named in the lawsuit will likely argue that Wershe’s constitutional claims are too old to bring to court.
“This is a unique case. ... Our Constitution, our justice system, and God-given right to all humanity calls on this court to finally bring justice to a man whose life has been taken from him at the tender age of 14 all the way up to 51 years of age,” the lawsuit states.
Detroit police spokesman Rudy Harper declined to comment, saying the department hasn’t seen the lawsuit. The FBI and U.S. attorney have also declined to comment on the allegations.
Read the full lawsuit below: