A man who beat a first-degree murder charge last month is suing the cops and prosecutor who tried to put him in prison, accusing them of trying to frame him for a fatal 2011 shooting near the Little Italy neighborhood.
Omar Williams, 28, claims his prosecution was built upon perjured statements, falsified police records, missing or destroyed evidence and an eyewitness statement that was “freighted with coerced lies.”
His lawyer, Paul Vickrey, filed the 17-page complaint in federal court Thursday. It names Chicago and Cook County as defendants, along with three Chicago police officers and one former prosecutor, who is now a Cook County judge. A spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
Williams was charged in 2011 with the murder of Javone Oliphant, who died of multiple gunshot wounds after a shooting at 11:07 p.m. on July 1, 2011, in the 1300 block of West Hastings. A second man was also wounded.
The new lawsuit claims the wounded man was drunk and high on ecstasy, PCP and marijuana at the time of the shooting and did not see the gunman. A description of the shooter given by another witness did not match Williams, according to the complaint. Later, surveillance footage revealed that the shooter arrived in a van, it said.
Because Williams was employed at the time by the Illinois Department of Human Services to drive his cousin, a paraplegic, in a van, police suspected Williams was one of two shooters, the complaint alleges. But it also said a second man, Keith Slugg, was employed to drive the van at night.
Even though police eventually realized Slugg was the driver of the van, Slugg was murdered execution-style on Aug. 28, 2011, according to the lawsuit. But police still chose to pursue murder charges against Williams, it said.
Williams’ lawsuit claims the police successfully used a pending federal warrant against the man wounded in the shooting to pressure him into identifying Williams as the shooter, promising not to turn him over to the feds if he did so. Federal court records indicate the wounded man was arrested on the warrant the following month, anyway.
The lawsuit also says an eyewitness at the trial “unequivocally and without hesitation identified the driver (of the van) as Slugg.” It says a jury took less than 90 minutes to find Williams not guilty.