ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Rockford has agreed on one of the city’s biggest settlements ever in the wrongful imprisonment of three men in the 2002 murder of 8-year-old Demarcus Hanson.

Tyjuan Anderson and Lumont Johnson were convicted of the murder in a jury trial in October 2002 and Anthony Ross was convicted in a jury trial in March 2004. The three men each were sentenced to 50 years in prison. Former Rockford Police Detective Doug Palmer admitted that he fabricated evidence and coerced testimony in an attempt to frame the three men.

Rockford City Council approved the settlement Monday night to pay $3.66 million each to three men, which includes their attorney costs and fees.

Palmer resigned from Rockford PD in 2004 after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with an informant in an unrelated case. More than a year after his departure, police learned he told attorneys representing the Anderson, Johnson, and Ross that he believed they were innocent.

“I think he is a disgrace and I don’t think he should have the word officer and Palmer in the same sentence,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said at Monday’s meeting.

In 2013, Palmer gave an interview in which he made numerous confessions of malpractice during the investigations. Some of the extreme measures he took included falsifying statements by witnesses and threatening to have a witness’s baby taken by DCFS. He also admitted to handcuffing the witness to a bench in a jail cell and putting her crying baby on the floor.

Judge Joseph McGraw granted the three men a new trial in 2014 and they were subsequently acquitted of all charges a year later.

The men were punished for a crime they did not commit while the suspect who murdered Demarcus got away. The taxpayers will have to pay up for the payout.

“Demarcus Hanson and his family have still today, no justice and now this occurs,” Mayor McNamara said in disgust.

The mayor says that insurance won’t cover the settlements and the city will have to take out a bond.


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