WASHINGTON — A Brooklyn man who was wrongfully imprisoned for a 1991 killing said Sunday he’ll use his newfound exoneration to help other prison inmates learn to read.
A Brooklyn judge ruled Tuesday in an emotional court hearing that John Bunn won’t face retrial in a crime for which he served more than 16 years in prison. Bunn’s conviction was overturned in 2016 because of the shady tactics used by disgraced former NYPD Det . Louis Scarcella.
“When this happened to me, I was illiterate,” said a tearful Bunn, who was 14 at the time he was picked out of the lineup that Scarcella conducted.
“I couldn’t read. Going through this process, I realize how much of an impact that had on me. Not being able to read and going through all these things and …thinking that the system was going to work to my benefit when it didn’t.”
Bunn made the comments to the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s “Politics Nation” on Sunday. He was joined by attorney Glenn Garber, founder and director of the Exoneration Initiative.
“John is an inspiration. He is an amazing person. He’s turning this tragedy really into a positive by helping youth and going into jails and focusing on literacy, as opposed to violence and drugs.”
Bunn was convicted in a jury trial that lasted just one day in the August 1991 shooting death of off-duty corrections officer Rolando Neischer in Crown Heights during a botched carjacking.
“This has been my nightmare, but through it all God has presented me a dream. So I’m just living, being better, not bitter,” Bunn said Sunday.
He taught himself to read in prison.
“Me learning to educate myself and learning how to read did something for my self-esteem that made me keep going forward,” Bunn continued. “I started a literacy program to go back into the jails and prisons because I realize that there’s a lot of individuals with my same issue.”
Since he’s been a free man, he’s learned to appreciate all the efforts of his mother.
“My mother never turned her back on me,” Bunn said. “She was a single mother living in poverty. Without my mother, I wouldn’t be able to make it.”
Scarcella has denied any wrongdoing.
“I stand by every one of my cases 100 percent,” Scarcella told The Post by phone last week. “I stand by from the [David] Ranta case to the Bunn case,” he said, referring to the men whose convictions were among at least a dozen overturned thanks at least partly to his alleged questionable police work.
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