A man that was shot 3 times by the authorities while they were trying to help a sexual assault victim has been exonerated after 19 years in prison.
Termaine Joseph Hicks was shot in the back 3 times by Philadelphia Police Officers in November 2001.
The man was reaching into his pocket to call the authorities after finding a woman that was just sexually assaulted.
Marvin Vinson and Dennis Zungulo, 2 police officers, falsely claimed that Hicks pulled out a gun and lunged towards them.
They also said that 26-year-old Hicks was standing over the victim with his trousers down.
Despite having no evidence that Hicks was the one that carried out the crime, the officers gave false testimony.
Hicks ended up getting a 25 prison sentence for rape.
On December 16, 2020, Philadelphia Judge Tracey Brandeis-Roman vacated the conviction that was given to Hicks.
After spending 19 years in prison, the man was freed.
The man said that it is unfortunate that it took him 19 years to clear out his name for a crime that he had never committed.
During an interview with Philadelphia Inquirer, the man said:
I’ve been saying the same thing since day one. The things that are promised to citizens should be delivered: a fair trial, and a fair look at what’s being presented.
Vanessa Potkin, a lawyer for Innocent Project, said that evidence in the case found that the weapon that was found in the scene was planted.
After being shot from the back, Hicks ended up having lung collapse.
He was brought into surgery for that incident.
Talking about the incident, Potkin said:
He had his hand in his pocket because he was going to attempt to call the police when they arrived and shot him in the back. Police claimed that Mr. Hicks had a gun on him as part of their effort to cover up the circumstances of the shooting, but the weapon that was attributed to Mr. Hicks was registered to an active Philadelphia police officer.
The sexual assault victim had a head injury during the incident.
She did not identify the assailant that carried out the horrific crime on her.
Surveillance footage also helped Hicks get the freedom that he deserved.
A CCTV footage showed a man wearing a grey hoodie dragging the victim into the alleyway and fleeing after the crime.
Hicks was not wearing a hoodie that day, instead, he was wearing a coat.
This helped the judge find out that Hicks was not the one that carried out the crime on the woman that he was trying to help.
Philadelphia judge Tracey Brandeis-Roman finally vacated Hicks’ conviction Wednesday
During the vacation of the sentencing, the judge said:
I am quite cognizant of the pain and the trauma of the victim, and then more pain in realizing that the wrong person was convicted.
It is not known what would happen to the police officers that did the horrible thing to the poor man.
Hicks was just 26 when he was placed in jail by the authorities. He is now 45 years old.