Man Wrongfully Convicted In 1991 Nightclub Shooting Sues NYC For $30 Million

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The man wrongfully convicted in a 1991 Manhattan nightclub shooting filed a $30 million lawsuit against New York City Wednesday.

Fernando Bermudez, who spent 18 years behind bars in an upstate correctional facility, will now try to get justice through the multi-million dollar suit. He said since his release, he has been dealing with culture and emotional shock.

“The technology has been so great that I’ve been overwhelmed by that alone. Not only that, just adjusting to life as a free person in terms of dealing with the anxiety,” Bermudez told reporters including 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa hears from Bermudez at a news conference

Bermudez’s conviction was thrown out by New York State Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo in November of 2009. He had been serving a sentence of 23 years to life for the killing of a teen outside the Marc Ballroom in Union Square.

His attorney, Michael Lamonsoff said the police and Manhattan District Attorney’s office conducted a sloppy investigation. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Bermudez cited false arrest and denial of due process. Attorney William Petrillo told reporters “there [was] zero connection between Mr. Bermudez and anyone involved or even present at the Marc Ballroom that night.”

“It was like I was less than human,” Bermudez said, “and not only the way I was treated, but what I was subjected to.”

Bermudez, now 41, said even during his years in prison, his family never wavered as he fought to tell the truth. Still, he said that he went through quite an ordeal in prison.

“It’s been a very long, bitter struggle in which at times I lost hope and even questioned my own existence as a person,” Bermudez said.

Bermudez, who is currently pursuing a degree in behavioral science, also speaks to college students about his experience.

“What happened to me, should not happen to anyone,” he said.

More from Juliet Papa
  • Dee

    Well we’re movin on up,
    To the east side.
    To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
    Movin on up
    To the east side.
    We finally got a piece of the pie.

    Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;
    Beans don’t burn on the grill.
    Took a whole lotta tryin’
    Just to get up that hill.
    Now we’re up in teh big leagues
    Gettin’ our turn at bat.
    As long as we live, it’s you and me baby
    There ain’t nothin wrong with that.

    Well we’re movin on up,
    To the east side.
    To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
    Movin on up
    To the east side.
    We finally got a piece of the pie.

  • Tim

    This is why you people in NYC have NOTHING to add to how the rest of the country might live. Instead of worrying about AZ, you “adults” might fix your own damn problems and leave the rest of us alone. So stop with the lectures. You people are not that smart and your attitude fcks up the rest of the world.

  • judege joe brown

    he is probably guilty of something else anyway

    • Devenio

      So are you! Off with your head you dirty rotten terrorist!!!

  • christine

    go ahead pal,sue them for all the unwarranted pain they put you through,for missing out on ur do the same

  • Carlos Liriano

    Dan Te:

    you still a moron, today bigger than yesterday.

  • Alan Foos

    Good luck to this man and may he know the love of Jesus.

  • authoriseduser

    I might add that it shattered my family, and nobody ever gave us an apology for what happened – on the contrary, they still think that I set a fire and am an arsonist – just that they “couldn’t prove it”. I’ve never had so much as a traffic ticket in the last 40 years. I always think, “How could they have gotten it so wrong????” This all happened in Oklahoma – a state filled with incredibly ignorant people.

  • authoriseduser

    I can understand and believe what happened to him. I was falsely accused of being an arsonist when I was a teenager. I came within a hair of going to prison for a number of years. I became a CPA and then an investment banker, but I never believed in America again after that. The FBI still won’t give me the file they have on me – they claim “National Security”. Bullsh!t. It’s just another lie. I always wonder how many innocent people are in prison. I mean, if they made a mistake with a person like me – I’m a CPA – they could do it to anyone.

  • sandbagged

    Yup. Welcome to Obamistan.

    • Devenio

      @sandbagged: Please kill yourself. You are not worth the air thats wasted on you.

    • Kate

      What does Obama have to do with a wrongful conviction in 1991? Obama has nothing to do with this case, nor with a lawsuit. It’s lame to blame Obama for everything that happens in the world, lame and hopelessly naive.

  • Mr. Armenia

    The free lotto lawsuits must stop.

    • margret

      Your comment is pointless. read a book ass wipe.

    • chuck

      so the city can lock someone up wrongfully for 18 years and just say “oops sorry, my bad, no hard feelings I hope” and not have to have ANY consequences?

      • Devenio

        Free Lotto? He invested 18 years of his life for something he didn’t do. He should get 1 million for each hour he spent behind bars.

      • Mr. Armenia

        he was covncited at trial thats why we have appearls courts

  • NY is Iran

    Not only should he get $30 million, but every member of his family who suffered the anguish of seeing their loved one being victimized by the personal agendas of the NYPD and District Attorney’s office should get $30 million each as well. No matter how much money he wins, he will never get the prime of his life returned to him, nor the painful memories of those 18 years erased. It is time to hold the DA’s office and the NYPD accountable for their actions of sacrificing innocents to satisfy their own Ego’s.

    • Richard

      Where do you think all this money is coming from? Taxpayers.

    • ron

      Have Bloomberg make a donation to his family for his praised NYPD, Ego’s galor. Pay up to him and his family, no trail needed for suit. This man has done his time, pay now.!


    I do hope the Powers To Be and the NYPD have improved themselves since this man’s arrest. Back then it was a matter of, oh, you’re latino, you’re balck, you have a prior record… anything along these lines and bamm!! Guilty until proven innocent.

  • travis moreland

    It’s a disgrace what happend to this guy. I hope he gets every penny he can and gets back to a normal life. A prime example of why the death penalty should be abolished everywhere.

  • Claude R

    I read a detailed account of this man’s story in The New York Times a few years ago. Mr. Bermudez didn’t remotely match the description of the shooter, the purported witnesses were all of questionable character and motivations, and viable leads to the real shooter weren’t followed up by the NYPD. This man was cheated out of justice and deserves to be compensated. Heads should roll at the NYPD, too. This case and that of Martin Tankleff have made me lose faith in the criminal justice system.

  • Val

    It’s a shame, really, that this guy spent all that time in jail and now, when the city is in dire straits, it will have this lawsuit to deal with. We will all be paying for the “sloppy investigation” and wrongful conviction. I don’t blame Bermudez. He has every right to sue.

  • CSI

    He should get 10 million for every year spent in prison. He can’g get those years back.

  • DanTe

    wow, this guy’s attorney is going to be RICH !!!!!

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