- Published: 12 November 2014
The year was 1967. It was a typical Sunday in Georgetown, Guyana, South America. For Donald and Ivan, there was nothing extraordinary about that hot July morning. As customary, they found themselves at their local watering hole, having a drink with friends, less than a hundred yards from their home. Suddenly, a man of East Indian descent walked in the rum shop (bar) with two police officers.
The dreaded question was asked. “Do you see the men who robbed you?” With little hesitancy, out of the dozen men of African descent who were in the shop that morning, the man pointed to Donald and Ivan as his assailants. They were handcuffed and carted off to jail, and were arraigned the next day on armed robbery charges.
They had no way of knowing then that Donald was identified by the victim because he was wearing a bandage on his right index finger. Ivan was picked out of this spot lineup simply because he was standing next to his lifelong friend, Donald. The victim had told the police that the person, now identified as Donald, had come up from behind and grabbed him around the neck in a choke hold, while Ivan robbed him of the three hundred dollars he was carrying in his pocket. The victim said that he had bitten the finger of Donald while being choked. The fact that Donald, an avid swimmer, could show that he had cut his finger on a jagged rock while having his weekly swim in the Atlantic Ocean, was of little importance to an overzealous East Indian prosecutor.
Never having been in trouble before . . .
- Published: 07 September 2009
Exonerations in the US: 1989 through 2003 by Samuel R. Gross, Matheson,Kristen Jacoby,Daneil J. Matheson, Nicholas Montgomery, and Sujata Patil