In 2011, reporter Kyle Swenson was contacted by Kwame Ajamu regarding his wrongful conviction. Kwame (formerly Ronnie Bridgeman), his brother Wiley Bridgeman, and childhood friend Ricky Jackson were all wrongfully convicted due to the false testimony of a 13-year-old boy. Swenson soon dug into their stiories and wrote an exposé that ultimately aided in exoneration.
Jackson served 39 years in prison, which was at the time the longest wrongful imprisonment in U.S. history. Kwame spent 28 years in prison and was exonerated after 39 years along with the two others in 2014.
Wiley Bridgeman and Kwame Ajamu after Bridgeman's release in 2014.
Now, Swenson recently published a book titled Good Kids, Bad City, which is described as "the true story of the longest wrongful imprisonment in the United States to end in exoneration and a critical social and political history of Cleveland, the city that convicted them."
Swenson credits Kwame's passion and determination to free his fellow co-defendants with making everything possible. He said: Kwame "had a good life on the outside. You could very easily see somebody being protective of that and pulling up the drawbridge and saying 'Ricky and Wiley who?' But that is not who he is. There was no way he was going to let them be abandoned. He was definitely 100 percent the engine moving this forward."
A Washington Post review lauds the read as "a compelling, beautifully written book that goes well beyond that initial journalistic probe into a grave injustice." Click here to read the Washington Post article that outlines the details of Kwame's case, Swenson's investigative journey, and a review of his non-fiction work.
Kwame was also interviewed on the radio with Kyle Swenson; click here to listen to their interview.
Click here to learn more from an article in Cleveland.com.