Portuguese man receives €382,000 in USA for being wrongly jailed for 11 days

A Portuguese man has been paid around €382,000 ($450,000) after he was wrongly jailed for 11 days in the USA for a sex abuse crime he didn’t commit.

Matthew Rodrigues claims he was only arrested because he has “tan skin” like the suspect.

The case dates back to April when Rodrigues was at a motel in West Des Moines, Iowa, because his friend was throwing a party there.

Police were at the motel investigating a case of sexual assault and questioned Rodrigues as a possible suspect.

He told a local TV station that police insisted he was Mexican even though he said he was Portuguese.

“It’s all the same,” one of the officers said, according to Rodrigues.

“When I told him my name, he was like: ‘See, you’re Mexican.’ And I’m like ‘no, I’m not.’ And he was telling me he was looking for a Mexican individual that matched my description.”

Police charged Rodrigues with sexual assault and took him to the Dallas County Jail. He spent the next 11 days trying to convince officers they had arrested the wrong person.

He claims he spent $900 on phone calls and food, all while trying to convince police to watch a video that was “key to my freedom”.

“It took them 11 days to watch it.”

After nearly two weeks in jail, Rodrigues was released. The same day he was released, police arrested another man who pleaded guilty.

“Honestly, it was a case of racial profiling, it is what it comes down to,” said Rodrigues. “They approached me because they said I was a Hispanic male. They approached me because of that. Not because of anything else.”

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