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. . . torture of criminal suspects for two decades, coercing dozens of confessions with fists, kicks, radiator burns, guns to the mouth, bags over the head and electric shock to the genitals.
An investigator for the police department's professional standards office reviewed 50 complaints of abuse against Burge and his officers - electric shock, beatings, jabs with a cattle prod, pistols jammed in mouths in a mock execution, suffocations - and declared that the abuse was systematic.
As many as 108 men have accused Burge and his detectives of torturing confessions from them.
With fundraisers and benefits, thousands of officers supported Burge and his men.
In 1993, Burge and his officers, who had been suspended without pay for more than a year, met different fates. The officers were reinstated. Burge was fired.
He took his pension and moved south to Florida. He left behind people angry not only with him but with the system that took his job but otherwise let him walk away unpunished.
Allegations exist that torture began in 1972. However, the most prominent example occurred in 1982. On February 9, 1982, there was an incident on the streets in which a suspect took a police officer's weapon, then shot and killed both the officer and his partner. This incident occurred within Burge's jurisdiction, who was then a lieutenant and commanding officer of Area 2. The two fatalities brought the total to five officers (including two Cook County Sheriff's Officers and a rookie CTA cop on February 5) who had been shot in the 60-square-mile (160 km2) area on the South Side within about a month.
Burge’s slow undoing can be traced to the 1982 arrest of Andrew Wilson for the shooting deaths of two police officers. Wilson’s account of electric shock, some of it aimed at his genitals, didn’t provoke a response from the Cook County state’s attorney, Richard M. Daley (“Deaf to the Screams,” August 1, 2003), but in 1987 the Illinois Supreme Court, suspicious of Wilson’s many injuries, granted him a new trial. He was convicted a second time without the use of his confession and sentenced to natural life. (See “House of Screams,” January 26, 1990, and “The Shocking Truth,” January 10, 1997.)
The special prosecutors’ report also demonstrates that there was a high-level governmental cover-up of Andrew Wilson’s torture. In 1982, an internal investigation revealed that Wilson was tortured, but no one was ever indicted. Wilson, whose abuse allegations led to Burge’s firing, was convicted of killing two police officers in 1982.
The report reveals that on or about February 25, 1982, Richard Brzeczek, police superintendent at the time of the investigation knew about the torture and wrote a letter to Mayor Richard J. Daley, who was then the state’s attorney of Cook County. Brzeczek asked him to criminally investigate the torture of Andrew Wilson. Daley and his first assistant, Richard Devine, the current Cook County state’s attorney, did nothing.
The allegations also raised questions about the conduct of Mayor Richard Daley, who was Cook County state's attorney in the 1980s when much of the alleged torture took place, and current State's Atty. Richard Devine, whose office continued to oppose the inmates' allegations of torture.
It has cost taxpayers nearly $30 million in lawsuit settlements and legal fees paid by the city to numerous lawyers who have represented the police officers.
Daley said he bore no responsibility for what happened inside the Police Department.
I was very proud of my role as a prosecutor. I was not the mayor. I was not the police chief. I did not promote this man in the '80s, he said. So let's put everything in perspective.
The four men had long claimed that they falsely confessed under torture overseen by Cmdr. Jon Burge, who was fired from the Chicago Police Department in 1993.
In 2003 Obama pushed through a bill requiring police to videotape homicide confessions. Similar bills had failed before. But Obama won over police and lawmakers because he didn't just talk about injustice. He talked about efficient policing, and he noted that videos could also serve as a "powerful tool to convict the guilty."
Burge was charged with lying in his answer to a questionnaire about abuse. His written reply includes the statement: I have not observed nor do I have knowledge of any other examples of physical abuse and/or torture on the part of Chicago police officers.
If people commit multiple crimes, and you can't prosecute them for one, there's nothing wrong with prosecuting them for another, Fitzgerald said at a news conference to announce the charges against Burge. If Al Capone went down for taxes, that was better than him going down for nothing.
The Sun-Times investigation began when a reporter on his way to work passed by an abandoned gas station, the home of a single red truck that bore a sign saying it was leased to the city of Chicago's Hired Truck Program. The reporter eventually staked out a city water crew for five days, watching four Hired Trucks sit idly during each eight-hour shift. Each truck cost taxpayers $50.17 an hour.
The scandal eventually sparked a Federal investigation into hiring practices at Chicago City Hall, with Robert Sorich, Mayor Daley's former patronage chief, facing mail fraud charges for allegedly rigging city hiring to favor people with political connections. On July 5, 2006, Sorich, 43, was convicted on two counts of mail fraud for rigging city jobs and promotions.
Originally posted by pieman
a great read OP, well written and presented.
it begs the question, is chicago unusual because of the extent, brutality, pervasiveness and systematic nature of the abuse or it unusual because there is some knowledge of the incidents in the public sphere.