CHICAGO — A group of at least two dozen people made up of exonerated individuals and families impacted by a former Chicago police detective’s alleged misconduct led a march for justice Saturday, with the goal of making their voices heard at CPD’s Area Five headquarters.
“I served a term of 21 years,” said Jacques Rivera, President of Innocent Demand Justice. “I was sentenced to 85 years and thank God that this all came to light. The eye witness came forward, he recanted and he said ‘yes, this is not the guy I saw shoot and kill the victim in my case back in 1988.'”
Rivera and others who joined in on Saturday’s rally have accused form CPD detective Reynaldo Guevara and his associates of fixing murder cases by ways of forcing wrongful confessions, intimidating witnesses and manipulating lineups.
“This detective and his associate have caused this city and the tax payers millions upon million upon million of dollars,” said attorney Lauren Caeseverg, Co-Director of the Illinois Innocence Project. “Not only directly in money that has to be paid to the cost of litigating these cases and compensation to these individuals who have been exonerated, but it has eroded the trust of the police.”
Participants of the march held posters with faces and stories of wrongful convictions; some exonerated, while others are still behind bars.
“A lot of these guys and young woman were teenagers when they were literally taken off the street,” Caeseverg said. “They don’t go home for 20-30 years. That’s not building trust in the community.”
So far, more than 40 convictions under Guevara’s jurisdiction while he was working in Chicago have been overturned. The Illinois Innocence Project claims there are still dozens more waiting for their chance to be exonerated.
“My heart and sorrow goes out to the victim’s families and the tax payers,” Rivera said. “The tax payers have to pay for these wrongful convictions. And it’s not fair to them.”
In August 2022, when eight murder cases tied to Guevara were dismissed, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Fox issued this statement:
“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to fairness and equity and will continue to address and investigate claims of wrongful convictions based on the evidence and the law as we remain committed to the work of justice.”
Guevara has never been charged with a crime and has repeatedly pleaded the fifth when questioned about allegations involving his alleged misconduct. He retired in 2005 and has received more than $1 million in taxpayer-funded pension payments.