Today a Cook County judge vacated the convictions of a group of men, known as the Englewood 5, who were falsely arrested and harshly prosecuted for crimes they did not commit. This decision and the Nov. 3 exoneration of the Dixmoor 5 in a separate but similar case show that evidence, hope, and tireless legal and community advocacy can overcome long-standing injustices.
Today’s decision closes a painful chapter in Chicago’s criminal justice system. But forced confessions and wrongful convictions– particularly for youth of color– remain, and we will not rest until these abusive and discriminatory practices end.
Today’s ruling is clearly a victory for everyone impacted by forced confessions, wrongful convictions and unjust incarceration. This decision condemns irresponsible law enforcement practices and encourages Cook County police and prosecutors to focus on real efforts to reduce crime and protect the public’s safety.
The activism of 65,000 ColorOfChange.org members (including thousands of calls to State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez) and the tireless legal efforts of our friends at the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth and the Innocence Project helped secure freedom for the Black men known as the Cook County 10– bringing justice for some who’ve waited nearly 20 years.
We’re grateful for our members’ vigilance and are encouraged by the deep commitment of the ColorOfChange.org community to take on the inequality and gross injustice that remain in the criminal justice system.