Man wrongfully convicted of rape, murder seeking his own justice

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - After spending decades in prison for a wrongful conviction, Nevest Coleman is seeking his own justice now.

"I lost my mother, my father, aunties, grandmothers, I lost a lot of people in 23 years of my life that I can't get back," Coleman said.

Coleman spent nearly half of his life in prison, wrongfully convicted for the 1994 brutal rape and murder of Antwinika Bridgeman in the Englewood neighborhood. He was released two months ago after DNA evidence pointed to a serial rapist as the real killer. Now Coleman is  suing the city, several police officers and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, to recover damages for his lost years.

"I'd get closure. I'd feel better. When justice is served properly, yeah," he said.

Justice, his attorneys say, should include a new investigation of the four detectives who they say extracted a false confession from Coleman and learned how to do so from notorious Chicago police commander Jon Burge.

"This case is about the legacy of Jon Burge who trained the detectives who caused Nevest Coleman to be taken for 23 years away from his family," attorney Russell Ainsworth said.

Burge was never convicted on torture charges, but he did serve time for obstruction of justice and perjury.

Coleman's attorneys say the detectives who put Coleman behind bars were just part a criminal justice system that failed.

"During this time period, people were not asking enough questions. They were closing cases, they were getting confessions, and they were getting convictions, but the police and prosecutors were not doing their job," Coleman's attorney Jon Loevy said.

Coleman's attorneys say other cities have had success with tracking complaints against detectives to identify possible patterns of abuse. They say Chicago needs to do more of that.