KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kevin Strickland, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 43 years, has filed a new lawsuit against the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.
Strickland’s lawsuit alleges “serious investigative misconduct” by the Kansas City Police Department, leading to Strickland being convicted in a 1978 triple murder.
Over four decades later, he was exonerated after a judge ruled he had been wrongfully convicted and released from prison in 2021.
The judge pointed out there was no physical evidence that connected Strickland to the murders and he was convinced solely on testimony from one witness, Cynthia Douglas. That eyewitness later recanted her statements and said she misidentified Strickland.
Two other men convicted in the murders also testified that Strickland was not part of the crime.
Strickland’s lawsuit alleges Kansas City police should have known he was innocent from the beginning.
Douglas, who was the only survivor of the shooting, knew two of convicted killers and identified them to police that night, Strickland says. It was only later, as they searched for two more suspects, that Strickland alleges police pressured Douglas to name him.
Strickland also alleges Kansas City police fabricated statements to support their investigation.
“Despite the clear evidence of Mr. Strickland’s innocence coming to light within months of his wrongful conviction, he spent over four decades in prison for a crime he did not commit,” Strickland’s attorney Amelia Green said in a statement.
“The entire criminal justice system failed him—most egregiously, the Kansas City Police Department. This lawsuit seeks to hold the police accountable.”
A spokesperson for the Kansas City police department declined to comment, saying: “We generally do not comment on pending litigation to ensure fairness to all parties involved.”
FOX4 also reached out to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners and the mayor’s office, who sits on the police board, for comment on the lawsuit. We have not received a reply at this time.
Strickland is requesting compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at a jury trial.