The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Awaiting Trial for a Decade in Chicago

Jan 1, 2024

Three Chicago men charged with killing an off-duty police officer in 2011 are having their cases reconsidered—after spending more than a decade behind bars. The charges stem from a robbery of a West Side corner store, where officer Clifton Lewis was shot while working as a security guard.

At the time, then-Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy vowed to find the killers, telling an entire gang unit that they would only work that case. Three men were brought in: Tyrone Clay, Oscar Colon, and Alexander Villa.

The prosecution rested on “confessions” made by two of the men, after many hours of questioning. Police did not allow either man to speak to a lawyer before obtaining a confession. This unconstitutional practice led a judge to overturn Colon’s 2019 conviction in the murder. Facing misconduct charges, the prosecution dropped charges against Clay this summer.

In the wake of all this, a CD surfaced, containing cell phone records of the three men, obtained by the FBI. The records indicated that the men were not at the scene of the crime and were not even together. Two of the men are now suing.

Tyrone Clay sat in jail for more than a decade, waiting on a trial that never came. Colon is now free, and it seems likely Villa will be released as well. This case shows how this society’s “justice” system operates—throwing men in jail and prison while trampling on their rights.