NewsON6 by Lori Fullbright - March 13, 2012
The most recent person affected is Erskin Atkinson, who has been released from prison after having his conviction vacated. He says he was riding in a car with two buddies in June of 2008 when he was pulled over by police. He then learned the officer who arrested him, Jeff Henderson, was going on trial for corruption.
TULSA, Oklahoma - Even though the trials of the Tulsa officers accused of lying and violating civil rights are long over, the fallout is still being felt in the courts. The most recent person affected is Erskin Atkinson, who has been released from prison after having his conviction vacated. Erskin Adkinson is the 42nd person whose case has been affected by the police corruption investigation. After serving three years and two months in prison, Atkinson is now a free man. He was reunited with his wife and children, including the little girl who was born while he was behind bars. Adkinson admits he's been guilty of breaking the law in the past, but says he's served his time for that. He didn't think he should serve time for a crime he didn't commit. "They found two automatic weapons under the hood of the car. I had no idea it was there," Adkinson said. He says he was riding in a car with two buddies in June of 2008 when he was pulled over by police. He says the guns weren't his, but was the only one arrested because of a past felony on his record. He says the officers wanted him to snitch for them and when he refused, he ended up facing federal gun charges. His key witness at trial was going to be the man who admitted the guns were his and even testified to that at the grand jury. But when it came time for the trial they couldn't find him. So Atkinson, facing 10 years in prison, decided to plead guilty and was sentenced to four years and seven months. "I shouldn't have to do time for something I didn't do," he said. He then learned the officer who arrested him, Jeff Henderson, was going on trial for corruption. He also learned that his key witness had been hard to find because he'd disappeared after claiming Henderson conducted an illegal search at his home and intimidated him. Adkinson filed a motion to get his conviction overturned and the judge agreed. "I was so overwhelmed by everything, excited and happy and everything," he said. Now he's getting to know his youngest daughter and catching up with his wife and other children. He says he's writing novels and poetry and appreciating the little things in life again. "Be able to get fresh air, see the streets, cars, kids playing, couples walking, holding hands. It's a gift, something previous people take for granted," Adkinson said. Not only was Adkinson's case vacated, he was also refunded the fines he'd been ordered to pay and the original indictment against him was dismissed.