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Drumgold civil rights trial

By Jonathan Saltzman, Boston Globe Staff

A jury awarded $14 million, plus interest, to Shawn Drumgold in his federal civil rights trial against a retired Boston police detective.

The civil jury in US District Court in Boston found the former detective Timothy Callahan liable for failing to turn over evidence during Drumgold’s trial in the 1988 killing of 12-year-old Darlene Tiffany Moore. Drumgold spent 15 years in prison before being freed in 2003.

The 11-member jury found last week that Callahan violated Drumgold’s civil rights by concealing that he had supplied Ricky Evans, a key prosecution witness, with free housing at Howard Johnson’s motel, fed him repeatedly, and paid him $20.

After deliberating for about 45 minutes this morning the jury announced the award just before 10 a.m. Another trial in December will determine whether the city should pay the damages.

“I just want to thank the jury, my family, and my attorneys,” Drumgold, 44, of Dorchester, said in the courthouse foyer after the ruling, surrounded by his family. “It’s been a long battle. but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Drumgold’s attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio, said: “I’m thrilled the Boston Police Department is being held accountable for its actions. He was wrongfully convicted, he spent 15 years in jail as a result of Detective Callahan’s actions.”

Moore was slain Aug. 19, 1988, in a shooting that came to symbolize an epidemic of street violence in Boston. She was struck by two stray bullets as she sat on a mailbox on a Roxbury street corner, talking to friends. Two gunmen wearing Halloween masks and black clothes fired at a crowd in what police contended was a gang shooting that felled an innocent bystander.

Evans was a key witness in the 1989 state murder trial in Suffolk County that ended with Drumgold’s conviction. A Globe investigative report in May 2003 challenged many aspects of the conviction, including favorable treatment of Evans that jurors were unaware of.

Evans recanted his testimony at a hearing the same year, prompting a state judge to overturn the conviction and free Drumgold. Prosecutors opted not to retry Drumgold but stopped short of saying he was innocent.