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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawyers for two black men wrongly convicted in the 1977 murder of a retired white Iowa police officer told jurors in a civil trial Thursday that investigators coerced witnesses into fabricating testimony.
Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee are suing Council Bluffs and two retired police investigators for more than $100 million. The men were sent to prison for life for the shotgun killing of John Schweer, a retired police captain who was working as a security guard for local car dealerships. Harrington and McGhee were freed in 2003 after 25 years in prison after the Iowa Supreme Court found prosecutors committed misconduct.
Pottawatamie County later agreed to pay $12 million to settle claims against two former prosecutors while not admitting wrongdoing, but the settlement did not resolve claims against Council Bluffs and former detectives Dan Larsen and Lyle Brown.
"The evidence will show these cops betrayed law and order, betrayed the oath they took as police officers and they betrayed their duty to protect us all," Harrington's attorney, Gerry Spence, told jurors during opening statements Thursday. "If they can do it to the least of us they can do it to anybody." Read More