Associated Press

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Ex-suspect files lawsuit in fireworks shooting case

Associated Press

DETROIT -- A former suspect in last summer's fireworks shootings has filed a lawsuit against the city seeking $100 million in damages.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, names the City of Detroit, Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings and 17 other police officials.

According to the lawsuit, the Detroit Police Department fabricated evidence and witness statements in order to arrest and charge Daron Caldwell with the shootings of nine people; one of the victims later died.

Caldwell's attorney, Marlon Blake Evans, claims that the city and police were under extreme pressure to quell public fear and outrage after the June 23 shooting spree at Hart Plaza. And they rushed to arrest an innocent man in order to put NFL officials - who were in town planning the 2006 Super Bowl - at ease.

"They used lies to get a warrant. They used vigor to try to convince the public they had the right person," Evans said. "The entire investigative report was a fraud. Now, they told us Mr. Caldwell was worth $100 million when they set his bond. It's only fair that he get the same for the gross injustice and negligence. He deserves justice for the degradation of his family name."

Spokesmen for the city and police department declined to comment on the lawsuit because it is still pending.

Within hours of the shootings at the annual Freedom Festival Fireworks, the nation's attention was fixed on Detroit and its latest shooting.

Caldwell became the primary suspect and was arrested the day after the shootings. He spent 99 days in jail on a $100-million bond.

In October, DNA analysis forced Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to drop the charges against him.

Ballistics tests also found that two guns, not one, were fired and that a bullet found in one of the surviving victims did not match the gun taken from the crime scene.

Follow Detroit's WXYZ-TV's investigation of the deliberate wrongful prosecution of Darren Caldwell.

WXYZ-TV Part 1
WXYZ-TV Part 2
WXYZ-TV Part 3

How the System Works
Police/Prosecutor Misconduct
Truth in Justice