Man wrongfully imprisoned 14 years sues city, says CPD detectives framed him

Allen Robinson was 19 when he was arrested and charged in the shooting death of Christopher Hanford in 2008. Robinson was awarded a certificate of innocence this year.

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A man wrongfully imprisoned for more than a decade has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago, alleging that “a pattern of gross misconduct” by police detectives led to him being framed for a 2008 slaying in Austin.

Attorneys with the Loevy & Loevy law firm filed the suit Monday in U.S. District Court on Allen Robinson’s behalf.

Robinson served 14 years of a 55-year sentence before his conviction was vacated in state court last year. He was awarded a certificate of innocence on April 26.

Robinson was 19 when he was arrested and charged with fatally shooting Christopher Hanford on Dec. 3, 2008, according to the suit and a statement from his lawyers.

Without witnesses or forensic evidence pointing to a gunman in the case, detectives conducted a “buy-bust” where they arrested another man on a drug charge in order to pressure him to provide information about Hanford’s killing, the suit says.

After holding the man “approximately 24 hours, without providing him with food or allowing him to sleep” the man said he knew Robinson and provided the names of other individuals he claimed were at the scene of the shooting, the suit alleges.

Under similar circumstances during subsequent interrogations of others, Robinson was eventually identified and arrested in March 2009 “solely on the basis of the coerced and fabricated witness identifications,” the suit argues.

The 11-count suit claims multiple violations of Robinson’s civil rights and alleges that the city’s policies and practices abetted detectives’ framing of Robinson for the crime.

“These widespread practices, individually and together, were allowed to flourish because the leaders, supervisors, and policymakers of the City of Chicago directly encouraged and were thereby the moving force behind the very type of misconduct at issue by failing to adequately train, supervise, and control their officers, agents, and employees on proper interrogation techniques and by failing to adequately punish and discipline prior instances of similar misconduct,” the suit alleges.

As a result, Robinson suffered the “loss of liberty, great mental anguish, humiliation, degradation, physical and emotional pain and suffering,” the suit states.

Robinson is seeking an unspecified amount in damages and has requested a trial by jury.

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