New video in campaign for Johnson to stop spending taxpayer money fighting wrongfully convicted

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Tom Jones WLS logo
Monday, November 27, 2023
Organization urging mayor to stop pursuing wrongfully convicted
The ABC7 Chicago I-Team revealed Monday the opening punch in a public relations campaign targeting Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A social justice organization dropped its second "Dear Brandon" video online, urging Chicago to stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars pursuing people already cleared in criminal cases.

Please note: The above video is from an earlier report

The Truth Hope & Justice Initiative is leading this civil rights and government fiscal responsibility campaign. On Monday, they released a new video featuring Jacques Rivera.

READ MORE: Organization urging Mayor Brandon Johnson to stop spending millions pursuing wrongfully convicted

Rivera spent 21 years in prison before being exonerated for the murder of a 16-year-old on Chicago's West Side. The sole witness eventually recanted.

A Cook County judge granted him a certificate of innocence in 2012, and then he sued the city. Six years later, a jury awarded Rivera $17 million. Rivera told the I-Team earlier this year that he asked the city's lead attorney, who worked for an outside firm, why they fight cases like his.

"He said the city's paying us anyways, to fight them. So, that's what we're going to do," said Rivera.

RELATED: Massive spending to fight lawsuits over wrongful convictions could cost Chicago taxpayers $1 billion

The "Dear Brandon" campaign will continue to feature individuals wrongfully convicted, and mothers who have lost their sons to unjustified police shootings in Chicago, placing public pressure on the mayor to stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars fighting suits against Chicago by wrongfully convicted people who have certificates of innocence, which are granted by a judge.

Mayor Brandon Johnson has yet to respond to our interview requests regarding the new campaign.