Nevest Coleman spent 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. That was 23 years of wasted life; but optimists say it is better than being killed wrongfully. Now he is discharged and acquitted, and back to his old job at the Chicago White Sox. But the old song of wrongful incarceration of young black men however continues to ring true.
Coleman was tried and convicted for the rape and murder of 20-year-old Antwinica Bridgeman. That was in 1994, and he lost his job at White Sox as a result. He was 25 at the time. But in November 2017, new DNA evidence proved Coleman innocent of the charge and he became a free man. He was issued a certificate of innocence just this month to clear his name. He is now 49 and even a grandfather.
Former Colleagues Said They Knew Coleman Would Be Back, And Now He’s Back
The released prisoner became reunited with his former workmates at Chicago White Sox. These were Harry Smith and Jerry Powe. Both even stood up for him during the hearing for his sentencing. Prosecutors in 1997 wanted the death penalty for Coleman but his friends and other key witnesses stood for him. Coleman still knew the stadium as Comiskey Park. But it had been changed to US Cellular Field and now Guaranteed Rate Field over the years.
“I saved your spot for you,” Bossard said. “I knew you’d be back.”
After an hour of chatting with his friend following their reunification, Coleman got hold of a yellow rubber suit, gloves and goggles as well as a power ground sprayer to get back to work. He is back to being a groundskeeper who has to care for the field and the stadium. The Chicago White Sox who had won the 2005 World Series at Coleman’s absence welcomed him back with great gusto.
Coleman’s Case Represents What Black Men Undergo in Today’s America
Coleman is now a victor in a sense, but the problem of mass incarceration for black men in America remains.
According to writer Angela Helm on The Root:
“Black men are unjustly and wrongly jailed for crimes they didn’t commit, railroaded by a system that often presumes their guilt out of the gate, while lying-ass cops and prosecutors look to make a name for themselves on the backs of incarcerated black men, sending a rippling effect through black communities for generations to come.”
Black men continue to be hounded into jails and prisons across the US by lying detectives. These corrupt detectives even go to the extent of obtaining false witnesses and confessions to nail the accused. Sometimes the accused is abused and subjected to illegal interrogation methods to make-believe they are working. But it is high time the black community rose up to this problem and for the government to address anomally.