Guilty Till Proven Innocent

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

Charges against two Rockford teens are dropped. That happened Tuesday night after the two juveniles were wrongfully accused of being involved in a murder that took place at the Two Wheel Inn earlier this month.

The innocent being set free has happened before in Rockford. Another teen experienced a similar situation when he was finally cleared of several charges against him. Being interrogated by police and being accused of a crime that you didn't even commit can be quite traumatizing. That is what happened six years ago to one East High School student.

At that time Brian West who is now 22 was 15 years old. West says he was interrogated, sentenced and sent to Juvenile court for a crime he was not even involved in. This all stems from some activity that took place in 1998 when numerous schools were vandalized with graffiti and windows were broken at several businesses like Pacemaker.

West says he was yelled at by detectives until he said he had no choice but to confess, but he says he was just confessing to the crime so he would stop being pressured. Months later West's mother says she got a tip from one of his classmates and before long the “real” criminal was behind bars.

West says, “It’s really an indescribable feeling to sit there and have them pound on you second after second. It’s hard for someone to cope with.”

Cindy West, Brian’s mother, told 23 News, “To have men on him like that. I think that was pretty sad of the police, the detectives, lieutenants and whoever did that to my son. We never got an apology.”

Brian was cleared of those charges and the records from this incident have been destroyed.


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