Qualified immunity allows law enforcement officials to get away with all types of horrible shit. Now, the city of Durham, North Carolina, is proving that even IF you overcome that obstacle, it won’t always be enough to get the justice you deserve.
After a Durham detective fabricated evidence, Darryl Howard was wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for more than two decades.
Peep this though, a federal jury awarded Howard $6 million in the lawsuit, but the city is refusing to pay it.
To make matters worse, the city is asking Howard to pay the legal fees of two city employees dismissed from the suit.
“I proved my innocence. I went through every court. Every judge says what this was, even the governor,”
“Now I have to fight again.”
Back in 1995, Howard was convicted on two counts of second-degree murder and one count of arson. In 2016, the convictions were vacated and the local district attorney dismissed the charges. In April 2021, Gov. Roy Cooper officially pardoned Howard.
And in December 2021, a federal jury found former Durham detective Darrell Dowdy had fabricated evidence and conducted an incomplete investigation. The jury awarded Howard $6 million in damages.
To add insult to injury, the city spent more than $4 million fighting the civil rights lawsuit, which originally included the city and several employees as defendants but ultimately just included the dirty cop, Dowdy. Now the city says it won’t indemnify Dowdy, who was a cop for 36 years. That basically means they won’t pay the $6 million the jury awarded Howard.
The ass backwards reasoning here seems to be that the city will only pay out if the cops and other employees were acting in good faith, not maliciously. Since the officer that framed Howard was found to be acting in bad faith, the city won’t pay.
Make it make sense.