Kenneth Conley

2 years, 10 months

One night in 1995, Kenneth Conley, a Boston police officer, responded to a foot chase following a reported shooting. The pursuit began in vehicles, as police officers followed the car containing the four shooting suspects. The pursuit continued on foot when all four suspects fled from their car and ran in different directions. This is when Kenneth Conley became involved in the pursuit. Two police officers saw a man climbing a nearby fence, caught, and viciously beat him. The man was actually an undercover Boston police officer, Michael Cox, who had joined the pursuit, and was left with severe head and kidney damage after the beating.

Federal authorities investigated the assault, but no officer would come forward and admit to seeing or taking part in the beating. Conley testified that he had run right past the beating in pursuit of another suspect, but alleged that he didn’t even notice the beating. The authorities felt that he was lying due to his proximity to the assault. Conley was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury. In 1997, he was convicted of both charges and sentenced to 34 months in prison and a $6,000 fine.

On December 23, 1998, a federal civil jury hearing a lawsuit brought by Cox found two other officers liable for the beating. Conley was found not liable. In 2000, authorities discovered that the prosecution may have withheld exculpatory evidence at Conley’s trial. He was issued a new trial shortly afterwards. The US Court of Appeals overturned that order, but in 2004 a US District Court judge again granted him a new trial. In 2007, the charges were finally overturned and Conley was allowed to rejoin the police department. He was compensated $647,000 for his time in jail.