Daughter of Eric Glisson, Wrongfully Imprisoned for 17 Years, Sues City
On October 24, 2012, Eric Glisson was released from prison--15 years after he was wrongly convicted of murder and a decade after the true perpetrators of the crime confessed.
Despite the admissions, Glisson's freedom became a reality only after he contacted the federal investigator who had questioned those perpetrators for an unrelated case. Local law enforcement officials had never recognized the connection.
Last week, Glisson's daughter, Cynthia Morales, took steps toward a lawsuit, filing a notice of claim against the city, the New York Police Department and the Bronx District Attorney's Office. The complaint, filed last Friday in Bronx Supreme Court, charges that officers and prosecutors failed to acknowledge evidence of Glisson's innocence.
Police arrested Glisson and four others for the January 1995 murder of a livery cab driver named Baithe Diop. A Bronx jury convicted all five two years later.
In 2003, John O'Malley, an investigator for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District for New York, contacted the NYPD's 43rd Precinct, according to the complaint. O'Malley told the department that two gang members cooperating on a federal narcotics investigation had confessed to robbing shooting a livery cab driver in the Bronx several years earlier. The informants, Jose Rodriguez and Gilbert Vega, who were part of the "Sex Money and Murder" gang, did not know whether the victim died. O'Malley didn't know the victim's name.
"I, along with an [Alcohol, Tabacco, and Firearms] Special Agent assigned to the case, and with assistance from several Bronx Homicide detectives, did everything to try to identify the victim of the robbery and shooting, and to ascertain whether the victim had died," O'Malley wrote in an affadavit. "That search did not produce any matching results, and at no time did anyone at the 43rd Precinct or Bronx Homicide tell me or the ATF Special Agent about the homicide case of Baithe Diop. At the time, based on my familiarity with the record-keeping systems of the NYPD in the 1990s, I concluded that perhaps the cabdriver had survived his injuries, and may have managed to drive into an adjacent precinct or to a hospital, or some other similar reason why the file was not coded as a homicide in the 43rd Precinct."
The NYPD, Morales's complaint states, "failed and/or refused to properly acknowledge Baithe Diop as the subject victim of such crime to which Jose Rodriguez and Gilbert Vega... confessed to."
In May 2012, Glisson wrote the U.S. Attorney's Office a letter claiming he heard that members of Sex Money and Murder had committed the crime he was locked up for. O'Malley then made the connection. The U.S. Attorney's Office reviewed the case, and a month later released a report suggesting that the five suspects had been wrongly convicted. The Bronx D.A.'s released all five within the next several months.
Morales, who was a few months old when her father was arrested, "was wrongfully deprived of the right to experience a familial relationship with her father," the complaint states.
Glisson himself filed a lawsuit against the city last year, alleging that one of the detectives on his case had an "improper" relationship with a key eye witness.
Next: the text of Morales's complaint.
Send story tips to the author, Albert Samaha
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.