A Chicago man felt like a victim identity theft to the nth degree after he spent a week in lock up for a crime he didn’t commit.
"I would not wish this on my worst enemy," Darrius Whitehorn a Loyola University criminal justice student said of his time in the clink. "In class, they tell you that you're innocent until you're proven guilty. But I felt I was guilty until proven innocent."
When Chicago Police arrested Whitehorn and a buddy on suspicion of robbery on August 17 it was surely a case of mistaken identity.
Neither man had participated in a robbery that night, and cops soon agreed. They let Whitehorn’s buddy go. But a check of Whitehorn’s identification returned info saying he was a fugitive, according to the Sun-Times.
Whitehorn spent a week in Cook County Jail before cops figured out, through a fingerprint check, that a man named Kirk Davis had stolen Whitehorn’s social security number and date of birth years earlier and committed crimes in his name.
Kirk, as it turns out, was a friend of Whitehorn’s older brother. The identity thief, who was wanted for robbing a Family Dollar store in Indiana, has since died. But the damage he did to Whitehorn’s reputation lived on.
Chicago police are unrepentant.
"We did what we were supposed to do -- hold him -- but it took longer than anyone would have liked to confirm his identity," said Roderick Drew, a Chicago Police spokesman.
"We did not sit on our hands for proof," he said. "Legally, we had up to 30 days to get proof. But if it were my son, I would not want him to sit in there a moment longer than he would have to, either."
Whitehorn missed a week of classes at Loyola and learned some tough jailhouse lessons instead.
"It was valuable to see things from the way an inmate sees things," he said as he prepared to go to class Tuesday.