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Waukegan officers who interrogated Martell Williams, teen coaxed into falsely confessing to shooting, are still on the job

Waukegan hires outside agency to investigate teen's wrongful arrest 02:16

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) -- The City of Waukegan's police policies are now under review after a teen wound up behind bars – having been coaxed into admitting to an attempted murder that he did not commit.

CBS 2 has learned the two officers who interrogated the teen, Martell Williams, are still on the force. As CBS 2's Marissa Perlman reported Thursday night, Williams and his family are calling for change.

Williams, a freshman at Waukegan High School, was pulled out of class and arrested right at school. He was released when detectives finally learned they had the wrong guy – but that took two days.

The city of Waukegan is now calling on a third-party firm to investigate how this happened, and what needs to change - now.

"It made me wonder what could have happened to me," said Williams, 15.

It's still tough for Williams to talk about, one month after he was wrongfully arrested for a shooting at a Waukegan Dollar Tree.

"It makes me not trust police a lot more," he said.

In February, Waukegan police pulled Williams from school, got a confession, charged him, and held him for two days – until his family was able to prove he was playing basketball elsewhere at the time of the shooting.

No lawyer was present during Williams' interrogation, and he did not get to call his mother.

"I never thought that it would be my child going through this," said Martell's mom, Shanika Williams.

Since then, the city has apologized. But now Jensen Hughes - a security consulting firm – will look at how officers investigate and interrogate children.

"Jensen Hughes will help us understand not only what happened, but also what must change," said Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor.

So far, Mayor Taylor says the city has made no decision on discipline or policy changes. Meanwhile, the two officers involved in the interrogation are still on the job.

"My son would be gone for some years for that something he didn't do," said Ms. Williams, "and that hurt."

A new state law that took effect this year says police can't lie to kids during interrogations. But that same law also doesn't say an officer who lies to a child should be taken off the job.

Martell Williams and his family want to see more change.

"Officers – make a change, a change to the community and to the people," Williams said.

The City of Waukegan and its police department are making changes on their own. They voted this week to stop arresting kids while they're at school unless a crime is committed there.

They also vowed not to interrogate kids without the presence of a parent, guardian, or lawyer.

Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart also released the following statement:

"Wrongful prosecutions are frequently tied to false confessions and inaccurate eyewitness identifications. This case had both.

"A new law, effective this year, bans deceptive interrogations. Before this law went into effect, our office provided trainings for police, and we have additional trainings planned for as early as April. Our prosecutors have also attended sessions on juvenile interrogations. 

"Our office supports Waukegan's internal orders that require a parent or lawyer to be present for custodial interrogations of juveniles. We will be providing a written report on how our office handled this case soon, and that report will address the future steps our justice system should take to eliminate wrongful prosecutions.

"No one's freedom should be taken away because of false information. A terrified teenager spending two nights in jail because of untrue statements is not justice. I have personally met with Martell's family, Waukegan officials, and community members to ensure that justice prevails in this and all cases in my office."

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