This week, Tahmir Craig went from being a wrongly accused murderer to a free man. Delaware County police could have been satisfied with the arrest of Mr. Craig for the murder of Devon Williams. They had surveillance video showing a man chasing the victim and then shooting him. Information from the neighborhood said Mr. Craig was the shooter. According to media reports, “several” witnesses identified Mr. Craig as the man in the video. That was certainly enough evidence to justify Mr. Craig’s arrest and, too often, would have been enough to sustain a conviction. Even though Tahmir Craig was 6 inches shorter than the shooter. An NBC Philadelphia story can be seen here.
But this story has a better ending. Because police did what they should always do: they kept investigating. Police sent still images from the video to State Police and federal officials. With the help of sophisticated technology enhancing the images and video, it became clear to police what it was not to the witnesses: Tahmir Craig did not shoot Devon Williams. And Delaware County DA Jack Whelan acted quickly: he withdrew all charges against Mr. Craig, 10 months after his arrest.
Too often, we see cases where police don’t continue to look, they don’t continue to investigate. An eyewitness identification or “confession” are deemed sufficient to establish guilt. But so many times, truth is just around the corner. If only investigators had kept at it, innocent men would not have been accused of crimes they did not commit. We applaud the Delaware County Police Department and the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office for proving that further investigation can sometimes prove initial assumptions were wrong.