When Elias Fishburne IV was questioned by a Maryland state trooper last year after an auto accident, he was stunned to be arrested as a fugitive from Atlanta, reports the Washington Post. His name was listed as one of several known aliases used by a career criminal named Jarvis Tucker. Fishburne’s vehement protests that there had been a mix-up were met with blank indifference. The birth dates of him and the wanted man were three years apart. Tucker was described as an armed drug dealer who stood 5 feet 10 and weighed 190 pounds; the man in custody was two inches shorter and at least 50 pounds lighter. The facial features were dissimilar, too. The only trait indisputably shared was race–both were black.
The Post tells the story of how Fishburne, a 38-year-old hairdresser, spent a month in custody and was forced to travel to Atlanta as a prisoner to prove that he had been wrongfully arrested. Court files and interviews with various officials confirm Fishburne’s account of how an innocent man was swept through the justice system.