Innocent Man Who Spent 44 Years In Prison For Rape Receives ₦25 Billion Compensation In The U.S.

Innocent Man Who Spent 44 Years In Prison For Rape Receives ₦25 Billion Compensation In The U.S.

A Black North Carolina man who spent 44 years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted of raping a prominent white woman has been awarded a historic $25 million settlement more than three years after he was exonerated.

Ronnie Long, 68, settled his civil lawsuit with the city of Concord, about 25 miles northeast of Charlotte, for $22 million, the city said in a news release Tuesday. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation had previously settled for $3 million, according to Duke Law School’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic.

The clinic, which represented Long, said the settlement is the second-largest wrongful conviction settlement recorded.

“It’s, obviously, a celebratory day today knowing that Ronnie’s going to have his means met for the rest of his life with this settlement. It’s been a long road to get to this point, so that’s a great outcome,” clinical professor Jamie Lau, Long’s criminal attorney, said in a phone interview Tuesday.

“Have we found justice in this case? Absolutely not. No amount of money will ever compensate Ronnie for all that he lost, but this is a big step forward for him,” Lau said.

The city also issued a rare public apology to Long.

“We are deeply remorseful for the past wrongs that caused tremendous harm to Mr. Long, his family, friends and our community. Mr. Long suffered the extraordinary loss of his freedom and a substantial portion of his life because of this conviction,” the city said. “He wrongly served 44 years, 3 months and 17 days in prison for a crime he did not commit.”

“While there are no measures to fully restore to Mr. Long and his family all that was taken from them, through this agreement we are doing everything in our power to right the past wrongs and take responsibility,” the apology continued. “We are hopeful this can begin the healing process for Mr. Long and our community, and that together we can move forward while learning valuable lessons and ensuring nothing like this ever happens again.”

Sonya Pfeiffer, one of Long’s civil attorneys, said a public apology was a part of Long’s settlement demand.

“All of us on Ronnie’s team were very pleased with the responsiveness by the city of Concord. He also got a private apology, a direct apology, which was meaningful, too,” Pfeiffer said.

Chris Olson, another civil attorney for Long, said the settlement was “significant” and important “after this horror of four decades.”

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