A man facing deportation after his conviction for a 1998 double-murder was overturned filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department Friday, alleging he was beaten into giving a confession that landed him in prison for nearly 20 years.
Gabriel Solache and his co-defendant, Arturo DeLeon-Reyes, were freed from prison in December, when Cook County prosecutors grudgingly dropped charges against the pair following a ruling by a judge who said that detectives leading the investigation lied under oath when questioned about their allegations of abuse.
Solache, who is free on bond while deportation proceedings are pending in immigration court, filed the lawsuit ahead of a Monday meeting interview with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, his lawyer, Jan Susler said.
Solache, has requested a visa under a statute that confers legal immigration status to victims of crimes, but his legal team is concerned he may be taken into ICE custody at Monday’s meeting.
“We are hoping for the best, but we are prepared for whatever happens,” Susler said. “Even if he is deported, it will not have an effect on this lawsuit going forward.”
DeLeon-Reyes, who voluntarily returned to Mexico, filed a similar civil rights lawsuit in February.
Solache’s lawsuit names former Det. Reynaldo Guevara and eight other officers, CPD and the city as defendants.
The lawsuit mirrors the claims that overturned the men’s convictions: Solache claims that he was interrogated for 24 hours without being given food or the chance to sleep. During his questioning, Guevara hit Solache until he confessed to the murders of Mariano and Jacinto Soto and the kidnapping of the couple’s two children, the lawsuit said.
Guevara, the lawsuit states, also “translated” a bogus confession to a prosecutor. Solache, who had entered the U.S. illegally two years before his arrest for the Sotos’ murders, could not read or speak English.