(BOSTON) — Boston Mayor Michelle Wu publicly apologized to two Black men who were wrongfully accused in the 1989 murder of a pregnant white woman.

Willie Bennett and Alan Swanson were initially implicated in the murder of 30-year-old Carol Stuart, after her husband, Charles Stuart, told the police that a Black man attacked and shot them. Police later said that Charles was responsible for orchestrating his wife’s murder and collecting insurance money after her death.

Bennett was arrested and jailed before both men were cleared. Charles Stuart died by suicide in 1990 after learning police were eying him in the case.

The naming of Bennett and Swanson as suspects in the case caused outrage in Boston’s Black community as many felt the police had unfairly targeted Black residents during their search for the murderer.

“I am so sorry for the pain that you have carried for so many years,” Wu said during her apology Wednesday. “What was done to you was unjust, unfair, racist, and wrong.”

“At every opportunity, those in power closed their eyes to the truth, because the lie felt familiar,” she said. “They saw the story they wanted to see.”

Joseph Bennett, Willie Bennett’s nephew, accepted the apology on behalf of his family.

“We just want to express our gratitude to Mayor Wu for the apology, her courage and acknowledging the wrongdoings of the Boston Police,” he said. “It takes great humility and courage to acknowledge someone else’s wrongdoings and to try to make amends.”

The Bennett family sued the city in federal and state courts and years later received a $12,500 settlement, according to the Boston Globe.

Among other Boston leaders who spoke, Judge Leslie Harris, who represented Alan Swanson during the case, said that Boston owes more to the family.

“I’m saying that we owe them something, as a community, as a city, as a nation,” he said. “We owe them more than $12,500, we owe them an opportunity to move forward.”

Mayor Wu presented both families official letters of apology on behalf of the city.

“We know that we can imagine the strength and grace that you bring today and that you have for 34 years,” she said addressing the pain inflicted on the Black community. “I thank you for your faith in our capacity to do better.”

“The apology is accepted,” Bennett repeated as he hugged Wu.

According to the Associated Press, Charles Stuart told police a Black man forced his way into their car as the couple left a birthing class at a city hospital in 1989. The man ordered them to drive to the city’s Mission Hill neighborhood and robbed them before shooting Carol Stuart in the head and Charles in the chest, he told police.

Carol Stuart and her child later died at the hospital, police said.

Several members and friends of the Stuart family eventually came forward with new information that pointed to Charles Stuart as the culprit, police said.

A documentary, “Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning,” which chronicles the case and the racial tensions caused in the wake of the murder, was released by HBO in collaboration with the Boston Globe this year.

Bennett said he hopes the world can now be informed of what happened 34 years ago, and that the families can begin to heal the generational trauma caused by the tragedy.

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