by: Rachel Stockman Updated:MARIETTA, Ga. —
A Marietta man said he spent 52 days in jail for a crime he did not commit. His ex-wife identified him as a robbery suspect after seeing a Crimestopper’s photo online.
Instead of checking for further evidence, Charles Rife said police went ahead and threw him in handcuffs.
“All I know I was doing school work, 30 minutes later, I’m in Fulton County for armed robbery charges,” Rife said.
According to Atlanta police, the ex-wife called from Mississippi after seeing the blurry photo of a man who robbed the Hookah Hook-up on Cheshire Bridge Road. She told an investigator, “she was 100 percent certain the photo was that of her ex-husband (Charles Rife),” according to a report.
When police showed the crime victim Rife’s DMV photograph, the victim did not recognize him as the man who had robbed the store.
“He said the suspect was not in the photo lineup and the officer turns around and her next move? Get a warrant,” said Richard Blevins, an attorney representing Rife.
In the warrant, the officer did not mention what happened during the photo lineup
In April 2013, the case was thrown out by a judge. A police report mentioned no other evidence that connected Rife to the crime, beside the positive identification from his ex-wife. Rife said since then he’s tried to get police to hold the officer responsible, and that is why he decided to file a federal lawsuit.
“It is a case where there was absolutely no police work done. An ex-wife calls from the state of Mississippi and that is all you got. You didn’t look in what is her motivation,” Blevins said.
“Every day I wake up and I don’t believe it. Everybody I know doesn’t believe it. It is 2014, you figure there would be steps in place to prevent this from happening,” Rife said.
Atlanta police referred Channel 2 Action News to the city’s law department. The law department could not comment on the case. An internal investigation found that the officer involved “acted properly and within guidelines.”