MALIBU (CBSLA.com) — Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brian Banks, who spent years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, walked in support of a march on behalf of the California Innocence Project (CIP) on Saturday.
The effort to raise awareness for “The California Twelve” — a dozen people the CIP claims were wrongfully convicted — is expected to conclude on June 20 in Sacramento where attorneys for the project plan to deliver clemency petitions for their clients.
Justin Brooks, an attorney and the director of the CIP, says he and two others are expected to complete the Innocence March.
The walk began in San Diego sixteen days ago.
“There are three of us walking. Us three here who are doing the entire thing but along the way, we’ve been joined by family members of our clients. We’ve been joined by people we’ve got out of prison,” Brooks said.
Accompanied by his mother and sister, Banks joined the marchers in Malibu.
“The reason I’m here is because there are other Brian Banks’ behind bars with dreams and passions who deserve an opportunity to be able to express those,” Banks said.
For the last decade, Banks’ story made headlines: a high school football star recruited by USC and convicted of rape at the age of 16. He spent five years in prison and five more on house arrest. His conviction was overturned last year.
“He was a boy when it happened but he’s an amazing man now because he never gave up,” Leomia Myers, his mom, said.
Banks recently signed a NFL contract with the Atlanta Falcons.
“I want to utilize my 15 minutes of fame to make as much noise as I can for the California Innocence Project,” he said.
“I’d ask people to go to InnocenceMarch.com to read these stories and then email the governor’s office and get in touch with the governor. Get in touch with your representatives. Get involved,” Brooks said.