Nov 13, 2017
Two black men, Keith Cooper and Christopher Parish, spent almost a decade in an Indiana prison for a shooting and robbery they did not commit. Parish’s conviction was reversed in 2006 after new evidence proved he was innocent. Cooper was released that same year, but was only pardoned earlier this year by the governor of Indiana. Now Cooper is suing cops in Elkhart, Indiana for restitution.
Cooper and Parish went to prison in 1996 because they were framed by police. In addition to a faked photo-identification, a big part of the case against them rested on a statement from another prisoner, Debery Coleman. Then-officer Ed Windbigler introduced this statement, claiming that Cooper had talked about the crime in jail. But Coleman refused to testify at trial and later retracted his statement, saying that he had made it up using details fed him by the police because he was promised a deal on his own charges.
While Cooper and Parish were rotting in prison on this trumped-up charge, the officer who helped frame them, Ed Windbigler, was rising through the ranks. He is now Elkhart police chief.
Can anyone be surprised that a cop who framed innocent black people rose to the top? This is just one more proof that framing people is just a normal way of functioning for the police.