A handsome Black man Mark Denny was only 17-years-old when he was sentenced to 57 years in prison for a crime he knew nothing about.
Released in 2017, he now has something to smile about albeit what he has received won’t bring back the almost three decades he wasted behind bars.
According to records obtained by the NY Post through the Freedom of Information Law, Comptroller Scott Stringer reached a $9.75 million settlement with Denny after he agreed to not go ahead with a $50 million lawsuit against the city and the NYPD that would have accused the department of framing him.
Under the signed May 24 agreement, Denny can no longer sue the city and hold it liable for his imprisonment.
“It was in the best interest of the city to settle pre-litigation,” Stringer spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays told the NY Post.
Denny’s ordeal began in 1987 when he and three other men were charged with robbing a Burger King and raping an 18-year-old female employee. He was convicted in 1989 though he maintained his innocence, alleging he was “targeted and framed” by several police officers who fabricated evidence and did not check his alibi, the NY Post further reports.
The rape victim, who did not also identify Denny as one of the perpetrators when she was shown photos of suspects but later pointed him out at a lineup was allegedly induced by detectives after they suggested he was the suspect.
“Prison was an ugly experience for me. I almost lost myself. Now I’m a free man,” Denny told the Brooklyn Supreme Court after he was exonerated in 2017, according to the NY Post. “This type of justice is needed, I appreciate everything that everyone has done.”
Denny’s case was taken up by the Innocence Project who worked to ensure his release after the Kings County district attorney’s Conviction Review Unit established he wasn’t at the crime scene that night.
“After a lengthy and extensive investigation into this horrific case, I have concluded that the cause of justice requires that we vacate the conviction of Mr. Denny,” Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement.
“Expert analysis of his identification, an examination of the rest of the evidence and multiple accounts from witnesses and co-defendants all indicate that he was not present when this terrible crime was committed exactly 30 years ago.”