CONCORD, N.C. — Ronnie Long, the Concord man who was exonerated last year after serving 44 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, is suing the city of Concord, the detectives who worked his original case, and the city’s current and former police chiefs.
Friday, Long's lawyers, Jamie Lau, amended that lawsuit, alleging they recently obtained an investigative file from North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigation -- a file, they claim, had been withheld from Long's defense team for 45 years.
If those allegations were validated, it could be a Brady violation, which prosecutors to hand over evidence that might help a defendant. WCNC Charlotte has reached out to the SBI for a response to the allegations.
The 88-page lawsuit claims the detectives on the case decided to target Long even though he did not match the description of the suspect provided by the victim. The officers had a history of animosity towards the Long family and hassled him in the past, according to the filing.
The SBI responded to WCNC Charlotte Monday indicating they sent copies of the documents to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission in 2014. However, Lau is the supervising attorney for a different organization, the Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic, which handled Long's case. Lau says the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission did not pass along the files in question to Long's team. Lau also says “SBI when given the chance following a court order in 2005 said it had no additional records and failed to produce these materials."
WCNC Charlotte's coverage timeline of the Ronnie Long case:
- November 2009: Concord man gets second day in court after 32 years
- March 2010: NC Supreme Court hears appeal from Concord man
- August 2014: Prison wedding for Concord lifer claiming innocence
- February 2020: Wrongfully convicted? Concord man has new hope for appeal after 44 years
- March 2020: Concord man serving for crime he says he didn't commit has to wait longer for appeal due to COVID-19
- April 2020: Update: Concord man claiming innocence will get his day in court — virtually
- May 2020: Concord man claiming innocence will get his day in court virtually on Thursday
- May 2020: 44 years later, Concord man's innocence argued in appeals court
- June 2020: 'We know this is a racial injustice' | Renewed plea to release Concord man claiming innocence
- July 2020: "I'm struggling to stay alive" | Concord man loses his mom while in prison and awaiting a decision on his freedom
- August 2020: 44 years later, federal appeals court rules the rights of Concord man were violated at trial
- August 2020: 'This is the epitome of injustice' | NC NAACP president calls for immediate release of Ronnie Long
- August 2020: 'I’ve been crying happy tears' | A man who maintained his innocence for 44 years to be freed from prison
- August 2020: Ronnie Long is now a free man after maintaining his innocence for 44 years
- August 2020: Ronnie Long's son was just 3 years old when his father was arrested. Now he's ready to make new memories
- August 2020: Wife: Ronnie Long wants to 'eat a steak first thing' after 44 years in prison, attorney plans to request pardon of innocence from governor
- August 2020: Cabarrus County won't retry Ronnie Long case, ending decades-long fight for freedom
- December 2020: Gov. Roy Cooper granted a pardon of innocence for Ronnie Long
- April 2021: Ronnie Long says $750,000 is not enough after spending 44 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit
- May 2021: Ronnie Long sues Concord, detectives for 'systematically' suppressing evidence