Amid 600 Chicago murders in 1985, gang crimes officers were looking for suspects when they spotted a teenager walking along a street. He was Reynaldo Munoz, who was beaten by police that night and later convicted of a murder he always said he didn't commit. Munoz's conviction was overturned last month, making his case the 3,000th known exoneration in the U.S., according to the National Registry of Exonerations. The group has tracked every known overturned conviction since 1989. Munoz was paroled in 2016 after 30 years in prison, reports USA Today.
Munoz was "framed" by detectives in a rogue Chicago police division that resorted to beatings, fabrication of evidence and coercion to clear homicides – all hallmarks of Munoz' case. Registry co-founder Samuel Gross of the University of Michigan wasn't surprised by the 3,000th case because there are about one million felony and four million misdemeanor convictions yearly. "It could easily be twice as many," he said. In the Chicago case, police officer Reynaldo Guevara was driving with two other officers when they stopped Munoz, who fit the profile of gang members in the area –simply a Latino boy. Put handcuffs and shoved in the back of the police car, Munoz was hit in the face as Guevara started asking about names of people, including “Scooby," Munoz' nickname. Guevara had heard the boy was in a fight at a party near where someone was killed. Munoz says it seemed clear Guevara was trying to pin a murder on him.