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Man sues city, Cook County a decade after wrongful conviction and imprisonment

Marcel Brown was 18 when he was allegedly coerced into making a false confession in 2008, according to a lawsuit.

Demarcos Crowder, 17, was charged as an adult for the murder of Aaron Smith.
Marcel Brown has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Chicago and Cook County over his wrongful conviction for a 2008 shooting.
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A man has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that authorities’ desire to close a homicide case fast led to his wrongful conviction and imprisonment more than a decade ago.

Marcel Brown, 29, filed the civil suit Tuesday against the city of Chicago, several Chicago police officers and an assistant Cook County state’s attorney for damages after he was jailed for seven years.

Brown was 18 when he was arrested for the murder of Paris Jackson in Amundsen Park on the West Side, according to the lawsuit.

About 9 a.m. August 31, 2008, Jackson’s body was found with multiple gunshot wounds behind a field house. At the time, there wasn’t any evidence pointing to a suspect, according to the suit. Investigators found possible blood drops on the scene but didn’t test them.

The lawsuit alleges Chicago police officers were determined to close the murder case quickly and with “minimal effort.”

Police were led to believe Brown’s cousin Renard Branch was responsible for the shooting after questioning Marisol Ocampo, the lawsuit said. Ocampo told police Brown was driving when Branch, who was in the vehicle, fired shots at a group in the park.

Neither Brown nor Branch were responsible for Jackson’s death, the lawsuit said. In the incident, Branch and another person, Rufus McGee, exchanged gunfire but didn’t strike Jackson.

About 3 p.m. Sept. 3, 2008, officers arrested Brown at his home and brought him in for an more than 34-hour-long interrogation, the lawsuit said. During this time, he was isolated in a windowless room as officers questioned him.

Brown’s requests to call his mother were ignored — a violation of his right to make a “reasonable number of telephone calls,” the lawsuit said.

Other allegations against Chicago police include taking advantage of Brown’s vulnerabilities and falsely stating to his family that he didn’t want to meet with a lawyer, the lawsuit said.

He was convicted and imprisoned in 2011. and his charges were dropped seven years later.

Brown is seeking damages for the emotional impact of being incarcerated and rebuilding his life, the lawsuit said.

“Although Plaintiff has won back his freedom, he will never regain the lost years in which he was incarcerated for a crime he did not commit,” the suit states.

A representative for the city’s law department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the suit Friday. A spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office declined to comment on a matter involving pending litigation.