Robert Smith, 72, spent 33 years in jail for a murder he did not commit. Now, he is suing Chicago for $66 million dollars.
Authorities arrested Smith Sept. 19, 1987 for the deaths of Edith Yeager, his wife’s mother, and Willie Bell Alexander. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Smith claimed officers under former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge tortured him into confession. Smith filed the lawsuit Monday, and is also suing the investigators on the case.
Smith, then 39, claims that the officers handcuffed him to a wall and beat him in the chest, threatened and choked him. The “interrogation” went on for 19 hours, and Smith only confessed to escape further beatings. He believed he could prove he was coerced into confession, but was convicted for the double murder in 1990.
Burge was fired in 1993 when he was caught lying about the tortures that happened while he was in office. He spent the remainder of his life in federal prison, where he died at the age of 70.
Prosecutors moved to release Smith from prison Oct. 23, 2020. The same day, Smith walked free.
The lawsuit states that Smith was deprived of his freedom and time with family as a direct result the defendant’s misconduct. Because of this, Smith demands $33 million in punitive damages and $33 million in compensatory damages.