Former inmate sues disgraced ex-detective over wrongful conviction that kept him in prison for 17 years
A Brooklyn man who spent 17 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder is suing the disgraced ex-detective he says framed him and ruined his life.
John Bunn cried in court last year after he was exonerated in the 1991 murder of an off-duty correction officer, a conviction based on tainted evidence produced by former NYPD Det. Louis Scarcella
Bunn was only 14 when he was arrested and jailed in the Crown Heights murder of Rolando Neischer.
In the lawsuit filed Thursday in Brooklyn Federal Court, Bunn says he was framed by Scarcella and another 77th Precinct detective who arrested the middle school student without a warrant, coerced a witness who was possibly drunk to identify him as the gunman, then lied to prosecutors about how they did their jobs.
“When interviewed on the Dr. Phil television show he bragged that he didn’t ‘play by the rules,’” the suit reads. “It was Scarcella’s pattern and practice ... to get civilian witnesses to falsely identify and implicate innocent suspects.”
The lawsuit also names the city of New York, retired detective Stephen Chmil and the estate of John Barba, a detective who died.
Bunn, 40, was released on parole in 2006. The lawsuit describes his prison life as hell. Because the murder victim was a correction officer, Bunn was targeted by prison guards, and physically and emotionally abused, according to court papers.
Another correction officer was wounded in the shooting attack, but survived.
Attorney Alan Abramson, who represents Scarcelli and Chmil, said he had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.
“NYPD will review the civil suit once it’s been served,” Detective Sophia Mason, a police spokeswoman, said in a statement. A law department spokesman said the lawsuit would be reviewed.
Scarcella, 68, retired in 1999 after 26 years as a cop. He collects an NYPD pension, enjoys swims in the ocean as a member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club and is the proud father of a daughter who serves as a prosecutor.
Bunn, meanwhile has formed a nonprofit organization called AVoice4TheUnheard.org which provides books to prison and community libraries.