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.