Loyola University criminal justice student Darrius Whitehorn got an unwelcome lesson in the workings of the legal system by spending a week behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.
The Englewood native’s ordeal began Aug. 17 when Chicago Police officers approached him and his roommate in a park near Lake Shore Drive and Chicago Avenue. The officers were looking for robbers.
The students were soon cleared in the downtown robbery case. But after the officers checked Whitehorn’s ID, they arrested him as a fugitive: His Social Security number and his date of birth matched a Hammond, Ind., arrest warrant for a robbery suspect named Kirk Davis.
Whitehorn — who has never been convicted of a crime and whose only case involved a minor marijuana charge that was dropped — told the officers he didn’t have anything to do with a robbery in Indiana. Still, he was sent to the Cook County Jail to wait for Indiana authorities to pick him up.
For a week, his parents pleaded with Chicago Police, Hammond Police and the Cook County sheriff’s office to release him. But it wasn’t until 11 p.m. Monday that Whitehorn, 23, walked out of the jail. Police determined he was the victim of identity theft.
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