Clinic Leads Suit Against Chicago Police for Wrongful Imprisonment

After spending 17 months in jail on charges that he raped and killed his own mother, a civil rights lawsuit was filed in state court Monday on behalf of a 25 year-old Black mentally challenged man who was forced into confessing the crime.

Craig B. Futterman, assistant clinical professor of law at the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, said the lawsuit was filed on the charges of malicious prosecutions based on detectives "maliciously prosecuted Corethian Bell without any good reason much less probable cause.

"They falsely imprisoned Bell for 17 months, and they intentionally inflicted emotional distress," Futterman told the Chicago Defender.

In July 2000, Futterman said Bell, "who is a borderline mentally retarded young man, discovered his mom's naked, bloodied body in the bathroom. He called 911 and the dispatcher told him to go back to his mother's apartment to meet the police investigators there."

Futterman said the next 50 hours Bell spent in police custody resulted in a videotaped confession of killing and raping his own mother.

"This is a case where we know with a 100 percent certainty that Bell is factually innocent," Futterman said. "There is no DNA evidence that shows who the real killer is."

"There is DNA evidence that shows Bell didn't do it. Not only did they frame a mentally ill man for killing his own mom and falsely imprisoning him, but they also let the real killer go to hurt other people."

Futterman wants the police to videotape entire confessions and to install video cameras in their cars. "They wouldn't be able to get away with it and it hopefully would be deterred from doing this, and it (videotaping of confessions) protects the good cops from false accusations and hopefully prevents bad police officers from doing what they did to Mr. Bell," he stated.

With mounting public pressure, Bell was freed in January 2002.