BOSTON (AP) — The city agreed to pay $3.2 million to a man whose wrongful conviction in the shooting of a police officer led the city to revamp its fingerprinting unit.
The settlement with Stephan Cowans, who was freed in January 2004 after more than six years in prison, equaled what's believed to be the largest amount the city ever paid in a wrongful conviction case.
Cowans, 35, was sentenced to 35 to 50 years in the 1997 wounding of Sgt. Gregory Gallagher after the police department's fingerprinting unit matched him to a print that the shooter left behind on a glass of water.
Cowans was exonerated by DNA evidence through the New England Innocence Project, and the fingerprinting unit was shut down. A report found that its officers lacked proper training and were unprepared to do complex analyses.