Today, the Post Gazette reported that a man has sued the City of Pittsburgh Police Department based upon his wrongful arrest and their failure to appropriately investigate his alibi. There are multiple issues at play here that are worth repeating First, eyewitness identification evidence is perhaps the most unreliable evidence there is. Typically, when a suspect is at large, the police will show a witness a photo array. This array contains 6 or 8 photographs of individuals who look alike. The witness is then told that the suspect may or may not be present in the array, and that if they identify the suspect, to circle the picture, initial and date it. The eyewitness in this case obviously made the wrong identification, which led to an innocent man being jailed on felony robbery charges.
Second, this is a major point in my "Should I Talk to the Police?" page listed on this website. DO NOT talk to police if you are the target of a criminal investigation. If the allegations in this civil lawsuit are true, the police not only failed to consider this innocent man's alibi evidence (i.e. evidence showing he was somewhere else when the crime occurred), but tried to get him to confess to other unsolved robberies by lying about the possibility of a "package plea deal." When you are the target of an investigation, shut up and request the opportunity to speak with your attorney.
Third, if you are the target of a criminal investigation, we would rather you take up 10 minutes of our time rather than talk to police and lose months and years of your life. Call us - 412-447-5580 for a free consultation.