© 2021 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WKAR News

'White Boy Rick' Sues DPD, FBI And Others For Allegedly Violating His Civil Rights

mugshot of Richard Wershe Jr.
Michigan Department of Corrections
/

A Detroit teenager who helped the F-B-I as a drug informant in the 1980s is now suing federal agents and others for allegedly violating his civil rights.

Richard Wershe, Jr. is better-known as "White Boy Rick."

When he was sentenced to life in prison for drug crimes in 1988, he was portrayed as a teenage drug kingpin, but Wershe was also an FBI informant.

His new lawsuit lays out how the FBI recruited him as an informant at the age of 14, setting him up in the drug world. 

Wershe said the lawsuit is about closure.

"I want this chapter of my life closed. I want to forget about it. I want it to be gone," he said.

Nabih Ayad is one of Wershe’s attorneys.

He said the FBI, Detroit Police and others conspired to keep Wershe in prison for more than three decades to cover up official misconduct and corruption.

"They abused, re-used, this child over and over again. They didn’t want that out. They said 'Hey, we don’t want this public. Let’s keep him in jail.'"

Wershe is now 52. He was released from prison just last year. 

Wershe said the allegations made in the lawsuit will be substantiated by documents and former FBI agents. He is seeking $100 million in damages.

The Detroit Police Department has not yet responded to a request for comment.

His story was the basis of the 2018 film starring Matthew McConaughey and Richie Merritt.

News from WKAR will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.