CONCORD, N.C. — The exonerated Concord man who served 44 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit is suing the City of Concord, detectives who worked his original case, and the city’s current and former police chiefs, according to an 88-page lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges the actions of the defendants in the suit wrongfully convicted Ronnie Long and kept him in prison even though evidence showed that he was innocent.
The suit states that officials on the case decided to target Long for the crime even though he did not match the description given by the victim.
According to the suit, the victim described her attacker as “light-skinned” and as a “yellow black man.” Long is a dark-skinned Black man. The victim also initially made no mention of her attacker having facial hair. Long wore a mustache and scruffy beard at that time.
This is one example of screwed information during the Ronnie Long case, according to the filing.
The suit alleges the Concord Police Department “engaged in a malicious conspiracy to conceal evidence from prosecutors and from Long’s defense team. As a result, the jury never learned that forensic evidence from the crime-scene pointed to Long’s innocence.”
In addition, Ronnie Long was tried in front of an all-white jury in Concord ‘in a tense and extremely racially polarized atmosphere’ which led to him being convicted rape, a crime he insisted he didn’t commit.
After decades, his attorneys discovered the Concord Police Department hid evidence in the case that ruled him out as a suspect.
The courts ruled in August 2020 that Ronnie Long had been wrongfully convicted and he was freed 44 years after he was sent to prison. In December, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper pardoned Long and he received $750,000 last month as compensation.
The compensation amount is based on a North Carolina state statute outlining the state will pay someone who was wrongfully convicted $50,000 a year for their time in prison. The amount is capped at $750,000. The capped amount of compensation means Long will not receive an adequate amount for more than two-thirds of the time he was behind bars.