CHICAGO (CBS) — The heated debate over the public release of decades of Chicago Police misconduct files rages on at City Hall.
CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov talked exclusively to Charles Green, the man whose case started it all. Green’s hope is simply to clear his name.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Storms Headed Our Way After Midnight; Damaging Winds And Heavy Rain Possible
“It’s been a rollercoaster,” Green said.
Green has spent the last decade fighting to clear his name of any connection to a 1985 quadruple murder.
Kozlov: “Did you have anything to do with the murder of those people?”
Green: “No ma’am, I did not.”
On Jan. 12, 1985, police discovered the burned bodies of Raynard Rule, Lauren Rule, and Yvonne Brooks in a second-floor apartment at 458 N. Hamlin Ave. in the East Garfield Park neighborhood – now the site of an empty lot. A fourth victim, Kim Brooks, also later died.
Green was 16 when a Chicago Police detective brought him in for questioning without a lawyer or a parent present.
“He goes to like punch me and hit me,” Green said.
Green said he felt the beatings left him with no other choice but to sign a confession.
“Eventually, it led to me saying, ‘Wow, they’re going to kill me – I’d better just go on ahead,’ you know what I’m saying?” Green said. “Because it was like, ‘Now we have a statement we need you to sign before you go home.’”
Green was eventually found guilty of getting one victim to open the door to a murderous ambush committed by two other men and was sentenced to life in prison.
He spent 24 years in prison before a judge released him in 2009. A few years later, he submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the city, asking for 50 years of police misconduct files to help prove his innocence.
“It proves that, like, the police was corrupt,” Green said.READ MORE: Years After Promise Of $100,000 From State And Photo-Op Prop Check, AMVETS Post 14 In Clinton, Illinois Has Not Seen A Dime
The city ignored the FOIA. Green sued, and a judge ordered those records released. That was when the city offered him $500,000 to withdraw his lawsuit. The City Council approved the settlement, but some aldermen still wanted the records released.
Flash forward to the present day. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and aldermen Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Chris Taliaferro (29th) announced a plan only to release files dating back to 2000.
Meanwhile, Green’s settlement was never paid.
“They just built us up for something they they knew they was not going to do,” Green said.
“It was difficult to contain my rage at how horrible they have treated this man, who did literally nothing wrong,” said Jared Kosoglad, Green’s attorney.
“There’s a sense in which Mr. Green stood up for the rest of us,” said Invisible Institute Director Jamie Kalven, a longtime crusader for police misconduct transparency.
He called Green’s treatment scandalous, and City Hall’s reckless release proposal worse than nothing.
“The legislation that was offered yesterday – this is one of many examples – would not have included the officers in the Laquan McDonald cover-up,” Kalven said.
The proposal is being reviewed again after aldermanic pushback – and Green is not giving up.
“It’s in the black and white somewhere,” Green said. “We’ve just got to get it.”
“Charles’ exoneration is the endgame here,” added Kosoglad.
Green’s attorney has filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case after the city won an appeal to keep the police misconduct records closed in March.MORE NEWS: Some Residents Say A Bears Move To Arlington Heights Would Benefit Community, Others Say It Would Bring Unwelcome Traffic And Crowds
As for the latest proposal, it was set to be discussed at a City Council meeting on Wednesday, but instead was held in committee on Monday. It is unclear when another reworked ordinance will be brought up for a vote.