HOUSTON — After a review of the case against him, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office has concluded Alfred DeWayne Brown is an innocent man. And the Houston Police Union is hopping mad.
Brown had been convicted in the deaths of HPD Officer Charles Clark and a store clerk during a 2003 robbery at a check cashing store along the 610 South Loop.
Brown was sent to death row but then freed in 2015 after the state’s highest criminal court ruled the government violated his rights by failing to turn over evidence supporting his alibi, pending review, reported KHOU.
By receiving a declaration of innocence, Brown can be compensated by the state for wrongful imprisonment. According to his attorney, Neale Manne, state laws make him eligible to receive $2 million.
“That, of course is a lot of money. But it doesn’t begin to compensate someone who spent 12 years and 62 days in prison, for a crime in which they have no involvement,” Manne tells KHOU.
Brown has always maintained his innocence. He says his alibi involves a three-way phone call at his girlfriend’s house at the time of the crime. However, it was never presented at trial, according to the report. Moreover, the police union said experts concluded the phone call in question—which was not a “pillar of defense” during the first trial—was forwarded from a location near the crime scene. A witness also testified that he picked Brown up from that location.
The union said this information is part of a “mountain of evidence” that will be presented to a grand jury.
Attorney John Raley, who reviewed the case for the Harris County D.A., says the assistant district attorney who handled the Brown case “jumped to conclusions and convicted an innocent man.”
Nevertheless, the Houston Police Officer’s Union strongly opposes the D.A.’s conclusion. They believe political motivation is behind the decision. The union president said, “She should be embarrassed and ashamed and how incompetently this matter is being handled.”
Watch their full response below.
“Police and prosecutors disagree everyday on charges, on evidence, on every aspect of the criminal justice system,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. “I anticipate there will be comments from them.”
Ogg also said the victims’ families should not be told what they want to hear. But they should be told the truth, and the truth is an innocent person should not be held accountable for the murders of the police officer and the check-cashing clerk.
“That’s never easy,” said Ogg. “I want to tell the victims I understand their anger. Their frustration.”
The D.A. says it does no justice to hold the wrong people accountable, however.
“That’s why further inquiry into then assistant D.A. Rizzo’s conduct is necessary,” said Ogg.
Yet the police union paints a different picture of Ogg’s “compassion.” According to them, Ogg did not have the decency to meet with the victim’s families before making the announcement. “Her subordinates called them 15 minutes prior to the press conference to drop this bomb on them,” said the union president, Joe Gamaldi, which is “completely unacceptable.”