Michigan Dept. of Corrections
Richard Wershe Jr.'s mugshot circa 1987, left, and circa 2012, right.
Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe Jr., who spent more than three decades in prison for a drug conviction, plans to sue the FBI and Detroit Police Department for alleged child abuse, his attorney announced Monday.
Attorney Nabih Ayad said the FBI and Detroit police recruited Wershe to snitch at the age of 14, “putting him amongst gangsters, killers, drug dealers and thrust him into the world of drug trafficking, and then all turned on him to cover up the illegal and embarrassing nature of their conduct.”
"Consequently, Wershe also holds the record as the longest-serving prisoner convicted as a juvenile on a nonhomicide offense in the State of Michigan: 32 years and 7 months; his entire adult life,” Ayad said in a news release. “Wershe was shot while acting as a confidential informant for the FBI and DPD at age 15, and, outrageously, they continued to use him to infiltrate high-level drug gangs in Detroit in the 1980s after this attempted assassination."
Ayad plans to discuss the federal lawsuit at a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, which marks the one-year anniversary of Wershe’s release from a Florida prison.
At 14, as the youngest FBI informant ever, Wershe helped bring down a cocaine trafficking ring. But after the FBI didn't need him anymore, Wershe stayed in the drug world and was eventually busted selling cocaine himself at the age of 17.
He was sentenced to life in prison in 1988, when the war on drugs was cruel and unforgiving. As attitudes toward drugs evolved, Wershe was paroled from a Michigan prison in 2017.
Instead of being set free, Wershe was sent to a Florida prison to serve time for a 2006 conviction for his role in a car theft ring while locked up in Michigan. He was set free on July 20, 2020
Ayad said it’s time to hold law enforcement accountable for how they treated Wershe.
"Wershe's story has been told in the media, multiple film documentaries, and a Hollywood movie yet, despite the public outcry as to the government's abuse of him, he has yet to receive justice," Ayad said. "For conduct that was not of his free will, but that of a minor who has been used, abused, reused, and re-abused by those that have sworn to protect and serve this country."
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