CHICAGO (CBS)—A man who says he was framed by Chicago police was released two years early from a 12-year prison sentence on Monday.
Anthony McDaniels was arrested on gun charges in 2008 and began serving a sentence in Stateville Prison in Joliet that year.
Prosecutors Monday announced a decision to drop the case against McDaniels, who has long alleged he was framed by disgraced Chicago police commander Ronald Watts.
McDaniels claimed a tactical team lead by Watts bribed him and planted a gun on him after he refused to take the money.
McDaniels, 50, walked out of prison as a free man Monday afternoon, and CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker was there to capture his first moments of freedom.
Dressed in a casual clothing, McDaniels appeared calm as he walked out of the prison gates surrounded by a few family members and his legal counsel.
“How does it feel to have walked out of there?” Tucker asked. “Lots of emotion?”
“I don’t know yet–I’ll find out–it feels good,” McDaniels said.
His conviction is the latest case of 33 convictions tied to Watts’ tactical unit that patrolled the now-demolished Ida B. Wells housing project, according to the Exoneration Project.
In his appeals, McDaniels claimed officer Kallatt Mohammed planted a gun on him.
Talking to reporters waiting outside of the prison, McDaniels briefly recounted the story of his arrest.
“Nobody believed me–I kept telling them over and over. They planted the gun in my car and told me to give them something and I had nothing to give them,” he said. “They charged me with a weapon.”
Watts and officer Kallatt Mohammed both pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2014 after they were caught taking $5,200 from an FBI informant.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx last year dropped charges against 15 men who had been convicted in cases handled by Watts and his team.