In 1991, Anthony Hall was working as a cement mixer at Laurel Construction to support himself and his two young children, Demetris and Avonrea. Then his life forever changed.

At the time, Hall was 29, and he loved his family, dogs and basketball. He excelled at hoops even though he was only 5 feet 5 inches tall.

But then Baltimore Police arrested him for a crime that he did not commit: the deadly shooting of Gerard Dorsey, which happened on North Brice Street near Edmondson Avenue in West Baltimore on July 13, 1991. He was 20, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

Hall was wrongfully convicted of second-degree murder and served more than 25 years in prison. The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project reinvestigated his case, and in 2023, Baltimore Circuit Judge Charles J. Peters granted a petition for writ of actual innocence and awarded him a new trial.

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The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office later dropped the case.

On Friday, Hall, now 61, of Baltimore, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore against the Baltimore Police Department. The complaint also names three investigators who he alleges engaged in “intentional and unconscionable misconduct” that resulted in his wrongful conviction. They are two former detectives, Donald Licato and Frank Barlow, and Sgt. John Barrick, who is dead.

The lawsuit contains nine counts, including fabrication of evidence, failure to adequately investigate and disclose exculpatory and impeachment evidence, and malicious prosecution.

“Defendants placed Mr. Hall in a cage — for 25 years — for a crime he did not commit,” Barry Pollack and Kobie Flowers, Hall’s lead attorneys, wrote in the lawsuit. “The pain they caused him is substantial. Thankfully, the law provides him a remedy.”

A spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department, Amanda Krotki, said in an email that it does not comment on pending or active litigation.

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Licato and Barlow could not be reached for comment. Barrick died in 2023, according to an obituary, and the lawsuit lists his estate as a defendant.

The lawsuit alleges that police coerced two witnesses, Nancy Hill and Gerald Patterson, into falsely testifying at trial. No physical evidence tied Hall to the killing, and he maintained his innocence from the beginning.

Law enforcement withheld or otherwise failed to disclose numerous statements, the lawsuit asserts, that excluded Hall as the shooter or were evidence of his innocence. The complaint includes photo excerpts of some of these interview notes.

“Because of Defendants’ misconduct, Mr. Hall did not get to raise his children,” Pollack and Flowers said. “He never got married, had the opportunity to pursue a career, or live his life dreams.”

Hall has experienced mental health issues like many people who have been wrongfully convicted, according to the lawsuit. He’s unemployed and has been taking care of his elderly mother, a widow with dementia.

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While Hall is trying to put his life together in a world that has drastically changed, the lawsuit states, “he does the best he can to build a relationship with his children and grandchildren, who are overcoming their own trauma from growing up without a father that was falsely labeled a murderer.”

The Police Department, the lawsuit claims, has “long maintained a policy, practice, or custom of using coercive techniques in interviews and interrogations to obtain confessions and false statements.” That’s along with fabricating information, withholding exculpatory and impeachment evidence and failing to conduct investigations, the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit asserts that the history of “unconstitutional conduct” dates to at least the 1960s.

The Maryland Board of Public Works on Feb. 14 approved more than $2.36 million in compensation — plus attorney fees and housing benefits — for Hall.

Gov. Wes Moore said he wanted to tell Hall “how deeply sorry we are for the wrongs that happened to you.”

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“There is no amount of money, nor apologies, nor acknowledgment to truly be adequate to right the wrongs that happened to this gentleman’s life,” Moore said.

“But I hope that for him, for his family, and for his legal team, hearing from the governor of the state how truly all of us are, how truly sorry all of us are, can hopefully have some form of solace and meaning to a gross misjustice that was done inside this state,” the governor said.

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