A Riverside man sentenced in 2011 on felony drug charges - according to the District Attorney's Office - is reportedly seeking $50 million in damages, and according to his attorney, will have another lawsuit on the way.
The sentences of Mohammed Proctor and Bernard Cooks were vacated last week by D.A. Thomas Spota after his office came across information which affected the credibility of an officer unnamed by the D.A.
According to a Newsday article, Proctor filed a lawsuit in 2010 seeking $50 million in damages, naming the members of the now-disbanded Southampton Police street crimes unit, including Sgt. James Kiernan - for undisclosed reasons - officer Eric Sickles and Assistant District Attorney Andrew Heffernan.
While Proctor filed that lawsuit pro se, according to his attorney Laura Solinger, she said that she will be filing another civil suit on his behalf, given new information that has come to light. Solinger said she had not seen Proctor's claim, and therefore could not comment in detail about the differences between the two.
"When Mohammed filed his lawsuit, he wasn't told the officers involved in this case were potentially corrupt," said Solinger, who also defended Proctor in his drug case before his conviction. "That's a new fact."
The Southampon Police Department has made headlines over the past couple of weeks following Kiernan's suspension. Five days after Kiernan, the former head of the street crimes unit, was suspended, , reportedly placed there days before Chief William Wilson took his post as head of the department in 2011.
According to the Newsday article, Proctor's case claims that evidence in the case was illegally obtained, and he was forced to sign a false confession statement.
Proctor lost custody of his children as a result of the conviction, Solinger said.
"The D.A.'s office said 'We have a confession,' but I don't think they looked into it too deeply," Solinger said. "Unfortunately people like Mohammed aren't believed very often."
D.A. Spokesman Robert Clifford said, "The allegations in the civil lawsuit are baseless."