LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-- All charges have been dropped against a group of young men who have become known as the "Misidentified Four."
Police arrested the four young men after mob-like violence in downtown Louisville on March 22nd based on the identification of the victims shortly after an attack. Cousins Craig dean, Shaquazz Allen, Jerron Bush, and Tyrone Booker Jr. were facing up to ten years in prison stemming from a night where people were robbed, beaten, and sent to the hospital.
The Jefferson County Grand Jury did not find enough evidence for the case to go forward at a hearing on Tuesday. The charges will now be dropped.
Circuit Court Judge McKay Chauvin read the decision of “No true bill,” which loosely translates to “no probable cause.”
“I wanted to jump up and shout and scream and do everything but you know I couldn't," Booker Jr., one of the accused, said.
Chauvin had advised the gallery against outbursts before the decision was announced.
"I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs but I knew I couldn't do it because I was in the courtroom so I'm going to wait until I get outside,” Bush said, another one of “The Misidentified Four.”
From the very beginning the group maintained its innocence. The teens said they were racially profiled.
"I didn't think March 22nd was going to last this long but it lasted for months especially for us to be accused of something we didn't do." Dean, another of “The Misidentified Four,” said. "We sat there and told them that we didn't do nothing to nobody."
The victim told police that four black men robbed her at gunpoint. The prosecutor says police never recovered a gun or the stolen purse, but charged the teens based on the victim identifying them just minutes after the crime.
Such identification is referred to as a “show up” by Louisville Metro Police. The LMPD Manual states that an officer shall not conduct a “show up” unless there is a good reason for not using a live line-up or a photo pack.
Dr. J. Price Foster is professor of justice administration at the University of Louisville. Foster said a “show up” identification is the least reliable way to identify potential suspects.
"The research suggests that that type of identification is probably one of the least accurate ways to do it,” he says.
Foster said victims are often confused and scared after a crime and are not very observant. Foster said if victims do not jot things down immediately following the crime, they are likely to forget crucial details.
The prosecutor recommended that the judge drop the charges after the victim's account of things came into question.
"The more evidence that came in, the more we realized as a prosecution that it would be very hard to prove these cases beyond a reasonable doubt," prosecutor Leland Hulbert said.
“The Misidentified Four” have had an outpouring of support from various community groups. If indicted and convicted they could have spent up to ten years in prison.
Cheri Allen, mother of Shaquazz Allen, blames the police department.
“Being in the West End, at that time of night…the police are trying to get their job done and over with,” says Allen, ”and it's laziness, it's laziness on LMPD.” Booker said “They rolled down the street and said oh, that's them.”
The defendants say now they plan to pursue their educations and focus on their families.
"We will recover but we're not going to forget. It's a life, it's a lesson learned to what's going on in the streets,” said Booker.