Nine years ago, Anthony McDaniels says he walked out of his Prairie Avenue home and into a frameup, which has kept him locked in prison for the last decade.
“There are just polar opposite narratives here,” says McDaniels’ attorney Joshua Tepfer. “The police narrative is wildly divergent!”
McDaniels version of the story says that as he exited his apartment on November 21, 2008, he was confronted by two officers who placed him up against his own car and took his keys. According to Mcdaniels, one of the officers searched his car and produced a gun which reportedly was found under the front seat. He insists the gun was planted.
“We can make this go away if you give us something,” McDaniels says one of the officers, Kallat Mohammed, told him. Mohammed would later do time himself for shaking down drug dealers in the same neighborhood.
“I ain’t got nothing to give you,” he says he told Mohammed. At that, he said he was placed under arrest.
The police version says McDaniels led officers on a brief chase, before eventually being stopped near 57th and King Drive. There, they said as he bolted on foot, the gun popped from his waistband.
McDaniels was convicted on a felony gun charge and sentenced to 12 years in prison. But since his conviction, Mohammed and his supervisor Sgt. Ronald Watts were both convicted of shaking down individuals in and around the Ida B. Wells housing project. And two other police officers alleged in a celebrated whistleblower case that Watts’ entire team was dirty.
“Would this state’s attorney’s office today bring that case?” Tepfer asked. “Would they believe they could bring that case beyond a reasonable doubt? The answer is no.”
In a petition filed Wednesday in Criminal Court, Tepfer noted that at McDaniels’ trial, a tow truck driver testified that he towed the suspect’s car from his residence, not from the spot where officers indicated a chase ended.
“The tow truck driver testified that he recovered the car right where Anthony McDaniels said he was, coming out of the house,” Tepfer said.
Tepfer has previously gained the exonerations of three other individuals arrested by Watts and his team. Earlier this year, he secured an agreement with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to re-examine all Watts-related cases where the individuals were still behind bars.
“They made this mess—the city made this mess,” Tepfer said. “What needs to be done is to find every single one of them, every single one whose convictions rest on the words and the investigations of these officers, and toss them!”