Man allegedly framed in Wicker Park murder as a 15-year-old sues the city

Demetrius Johnson, who spent 13 years in prison, alleges former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara hid exonerating evidence in the 1991 murder case.

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Demetrius Johnson speaks to reporters after his 1991 murder conviction was vacated at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, Friday morning, Dec. 20, 2019.

Demetrius Johnson speaks to reporters after his 1991 murder conviction was vacated at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in 2019.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

A man allegedly framed for murder by disgraced former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara has filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago.

Demetrius Johnson, who spent 13 years in prison, alleges Guevara hid exonerating evidence in a 1991 murder case.

In 2019, Johnson was the 20th person to a have a homicide conviction tied to Guevara thrown out. He was 15 years old when he was accused of the murder of Edwin Fred.

His lawsuit claims an eyewitness account implicating another person in the fatal 1991 Wicker Park shooting had been concealed from prosecutors and defense attorneys. Guevara allegedly covered up a lineup report by falsifying documents and lying about it during testimony at Johnson’s trial.

Former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara.

Former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara.

Sun-Times file photo

Since his release in 2004, Johnson has been a youth basketball coach and a leader in youth and city anti-violence initiatives, according to Johnson’s lawyers.

“I was 15 years old when I got falsely arrested,” Johnson said in a statement from the Loevy & Loevy law firm. “My mom passed away just months later, and I’m convinced she died from a broken heart.”

His attorneys said the lawsuit was filed after a failed bid to negotiate a settlement with the city outside of court. The city has spent nearly $50 million defending lawsuits against Guevara, according to Johnson’s attorneys.

In a statement, Chicago law department spokeswoman Kathy Fieweger cast doubts on Johnson’s claims of innocence.

“The City stands firmly against police misconduct, but victims’ rights must also be upheld,” Fieweger said. “In this case, a man was murdered. Our initial investigation reveals serious inconsistencies in the allegations being made by Demetrius Johnson, who was identified at trial by an eyewitness as the man who pointed a gun at her, and whose testimony was corroborated at trial.Each case stands on its own facts.”

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