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Black FL Man Freed After Decades May Be Forced Back to Prison

Crosley Green left a Florida prison in April 2021, more than three decades after he was convicted of a murder he always denied committing. A jury convicted Green of killing 21-year-old Charles “Chip” Flynn Jr. in 1990, after Flynn’s ex-girlfriend told police he had been robbed and shot by a Black man. No physical evidence linked him to the crime, and a federal court reversed the conviction in 2018, saying the prosecutor had withheld information suggesting investigators suspected the ex-girlfriend. Green, now 64, may have to return to prison because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit threw out the lower court’s decision to vacate his conviction, the Washington Post reports.


Diane Clarke, who responded to the crime scene as a sergeant in Brevard County, said said Green “spent half his life in prison for something that I don’t believe he did” and called his imprisonment “a travesty of justice.” Green’s case must be viewed through the context of the state’s history of wrongfully convicting Black men, said Kenneth Nunn, a professor of law at the University of Florida. He cited the Groveland Four, exonerated Black men who had been convicted of raping a woman in 1949. Long before their names were cleared, two were shot and killed, one by a segregationist sheriff. Nunn said the Green case "is bigger than just him, ... It is about what is going to be viewed as appropriate conduct for prosecutors ... all over this nation, to do when they have a case where somebody says the Black man did it.” The Florida attorney general has stood by the conviction, fighting against his release. In the Green case, canine tracking and a police sketch led authorities to Green, then 31, who had served prison time after being convicted of a 1977 armed robbery in New York.


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