NYC to Award $9.75 Million to Black Man Who Spent 30 Years in Prison For Crimes He Didn’t Commit

New York, NY — Mark Denny, a man who was wrongly imprisoned for almost 30 years for a rape and robbery he didn’t commit, has been awarded a $9.75 million settlement from the city of New York. In exchange, Denny had to surrender his right to file a potential $50 million lawsuit against the city and the NYPD that would have claimed that police officers framed him.In December 1987, then-17-year old Denny was one of the four men accused of robbery at a Burger King in Brooklyn and rape of an 18-year old female employee. In February 1989, he was convicted of rape, sodomy, robbery, and coercion charges and was sentenced to up to 57 years in prison.

Denny has always maintained his innocence until he was finally exonerated in December 2017. An investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office determined he did not commit the crime. The Innocence Project reached out to the Kings County District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit, which further proved that Denny wasn’t at Burger King at the time of the incident.

Moreover, in March 2018, Denny filed a “notice of claim” alleging that he was “targeted and framed” by more than a dozen NYPD detectives investigating the crime.

According to the claim, the detectives allegedly fabricated evidence against him and refused to confirm his alibi. It also accuses them of “intentionally refusing to investigate other obvious leads” as they failed to immediately test hair, fingernail scrapings and other forensic evidence collected from the scene after the crime.

Denny alleges in the claim that detectives made “false representation” and used “outright suggestion to induce” the victim, who was blindfolded during most of the attack, to identify him “at a live lineup after she failed to identify [him] in a photo lineup… as one of the perpetrators.”

It also claims Denny “has suffered, and continues to suffer, severe and ongoing damages,” including “physical and emotional pain and suffering, physical sickness… loss of familial relationships,” loss of income and damage to his reputation.

To avoid a potential $50 million lawsuit, Comptroller Scott Stringer discreetly agreed to approve paying Denny a $9.75 million settlement. On May 24, Denny signed on “general release” papers, agreeing not to sue the city and hold it liable for his arrest and incarceration.

“It was in the best interest of the city to settle pre-litigation,” said Stringer spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays.

Meet the 11-Year Old Genius Who Just Started High School

Houston, TX — Dionn Megginson, an 11-year old girl from Texas, is making her way to excellence. At such an early age, she has just recently started classes as a 9th grader in high school.Dionn is a student at the school’s inaugural class at the Early College Academy where she’s taking honors Biology, English, Spanish, AP Human Geography, Dance and Culinary Arts.

This week, she just completed her first week in high school and she is already excited for what’s next to come.

“I’m looking forward to going deeper into my classes,” she told Because of Them We Can.

Dionn’s parents noticed her thirst for knowledge years prior even at her early age.

“We realized Dionn was unique at a very early age, before she could walk. Teachers at her daycare would always tell us that Dionn was very smart and that she knew a lot for her age. It was suggested by them that we have her tested when she got into elementary school,” said Dionn’s mother, Sharon.

After taking the test while in Kindergarten, Dionn was promoted to first grade through credit by exam (CBE). She received the Principal’s Award each year from grade 1 to 4, which is the highest student recognition at her elementary school. At 9-years old, she entered 6th grade when she was allowed to skip 5th grade.

Now, she hopes to graduate from high school at the age of 14. She dreams of attending Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she would study Mathematics to be like her role model, Katherine Johnson.