Terrill Swift spent almost half his life in jail for a crime he did not commit. Three years ago DNA evidence helped exonerate him. He decided to come to Hayward police department to be a keynote speaker for a law enforcement community summit.Cheryl Hurd reports even though this man wishes he could get back the last 15 years of his life he will focus on the positive to help the community build a relationship with law enforcement.
Terrill Swift says he's dedicated to making changes in communities.
"I don't want to hate. I want to get the story out and make changes," Swift said.
He's doing it through telling his story about spending almost half his life behind bars for a crime he did not do.
"I was 17 years old, I spent 15 and a half years in prison for first degree murder sexual assault for which I did not commit," Swift said.
Swift is from Chicago.
His story made national news. Now, almost three years after being exonerated for the crime thanks to DNA evidence, he was invited to come to Hayward to be the keynote speaker for a law enforcement community summit.
"Law enforcement was responsible for the wrong conviction that happened to them. I think it's very important for law enforcement to take a hard look at themselves and say are we doing business the right way, " Hayward Police Chief Diane Urban said.
Urban met Swift at a conference in San Diego and thought his story would be a great fit to help her officers connect with the people they serve. Swift says walking into Hayward's interrogation room brings back memories he would rather forget. But now Swift would like to focus on the positive.
"I think most people would say I have every right to be angry and hateful. What's that going to get me?" Swift said. "I can't get 15 years back so I just want to make a difference for the next generation."
The police summit is at Cal State East Bay Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Swift will be keynote speaker