NEW YORK (AP) — New York City will pay $10.5 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a man who spent 24 years in prison on a murder conviction that was overturned in 2018.
The conviction of Shawn Williams was the 14th overturned conviction linked to retired Detective Louis Scarcella. Scarcella has been accused of coercing witnesses and framing suspects during the high-crime era of the late 1980s and 1990s.
Williams was 19 years old when he was wrongfully accused of killing a man in Brooklyn in 1993, the New York Times reported. A woman testified that she saw Williams at the scene of the murder with a gun which led to his conviction, even though there was no forensic evidence tying him to the crime, according to the New York Times.
Years later the woman recanted her testimony, saying that Scarcella coerced her into naming Williams as the gunman, the New York Times reported. Williams was freed from prison in 2018.
“No amount of money can give me back the years they took from me,” the now 47-year-old Williams said in a statement to the New York Times. “But I am going to keep rebuilding my life and looking ahead to a brighter future.”
An attorney for Scarcella says the retired detective denies any wrongdoing. The city has paid millions of dollars in settlements over other cases linked to Scarcella over the years.