“White Boy Rick” Richard Wershe Jr. Files Lawsuit Against Former Law Enforcement Officials

Richard Wershe Jr. served more than 32 years of a life sentence for drug possession, despite aiding the Detroit police and FBI as an informant.

Richard Wershe Jr., also known as White Boy Rick, filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking $100 million, claiming former Detroit Police Department and FBI officials were complicit in child abuse.

Wershe, now 52, was a high-level crime informant for the Detroit Police Department and FBI as a teenager, following an arrest for drug possession. He was shot while working as a C.I. when he was 15 years old.

“We can prove what the truth really is. … Everything that we say will be backed up by documents and by FBI agents.” –“White Boy” Rick Wershe

Wershe says he hopes the legal case will be the final chapter in a saga that saw him receive the longest sentence for a nonviolent juvenile offender in Michigan history. He served about 30 years in prison in Michigan before his release in 2017, followed by a few more years in a Florida prison for an unrelated car-theft scheme.

“I’m not blaming the people that are in office now,” says Wershe. “I’m blaming the people from the past. The people that did it to me, the retired FBI agents, [and] the retired DPD officials.”

While serving as an informant, Wershe was arrested for cocaine possession and sentenced to life in prison at 17 years old. 

Wershe says he was promised a lighter sentence in exchange for his help in “Operation Backbone,” which was aimed at rooting out Detroit police corruption. He says that promise was broken by the U.S. attorney’s office.

“We can prove what the truth really is,” says Wershe. “We’re not making up anything; we’re not making allegations. Everything that we say will be backed up by documents and FBI agents.”

Filing of the case comes one year to the day after Wershe was released from prison. His legal team says the case could evolve to name City of Detroit and federal entities on a whole as the process goes forward.  

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  • Alex McLenon
    Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET. McLenon is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he studied Media Arts & Production and Broadcast Journalism.