Good Kids Bad City
Kyle Swenson
Contributed by Greta Venegas

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Chapter 12
Summary

Following Ed’s recantation of his original testimony, Swenson writes about the efforts of an attorney named Brian Howe, a member of The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP), in filing a motion seeking Rickey’s release. He describes how Howe obtained a signed affidavit from Ed that described how he had been forced by detectives to lie in court. In the affidavit, Ed confirmed that he was on a school bus when Mr. Frank was murdered, and did not personally witness the murder; he had visited the crime scene later with his friends. Ed explains that when he volunteered to be a witness, he had planned on going to the lineup and deliberately fail to identify anyone — after which, a detective by the name of Eugene Terpay reacted extremely angrily and threatened to arrest his parents. Frightened, Ed would later be forced to identify Rickey and Ronnie as the perpetrators of the crime before being coached on what to say in court. Swenson recounts how Kwame and Rickey were overjoyed by the news of Ed’s recantation.

Swenson also notes that Detective Terpay, a former corporal in the U.S. Army, had been accused of a series of separate controversial actions while serving in the police department. For instance: in 1957, he stopped a fleeing African American teen by shooting him in his heel; in 1964, he killed a luncheonette robber by shooting him five times; and in 1975, he had beaten and forced a suspect to accept charges even after his attorney had demanded that his client should not be questioned without his presence. 

Analysis

Swenson shifts the blame for the wrongful conviction of Ronnie, Rickey, and Wiley from Ed to the police. In this chapter, it emerges that Ed was merely a victim of police collusion and conspiracy. The author tries to draw sympathetic feelings for Ed when he explains that the twelve-year-old boy had actually been forced to testify against the three defendants, and even coached on what to say. Swenson portrays the police as being highly immoral as he explores the records of one specific officer, Detective Eugene Terpay. Swenson list a number of controversial deeds the officer had carried out while serving as a police officer, besides being the mastermind behind the wrongful convictions of Rickey, Ronnie, and Wiley.

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