Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel apologizes for decades of police torture

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has apologized for twenty years' worth of police torture under the stewardship of former Chicago PD Commander Jon Burge, and set aside $85M to compensate victims -- mostly black people from Chicago's South Side. At least two of Burge's victims spent 21 years in jail before being released and paid off. In a City Council meeting, Emmanuel called the torture "a stain on the city’s reputation." His predecessor, former Mayor Daley, refused to apologize for -- or admit -- torture, and used out-of-court settlements to avoid testifying in court about his administration's complicity in the torture.

For Burge’s crew to have carried out the torture successfully and for so long, it would have taken the quiet cooperation of the county prosecutor’s office, says Leonard Cavise, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago and a member of the state commission against torture that reviews cases related to police misconduct.

“Every single one of those people who confessed in front of a [Cook County] prosecutor who had them sign a prepared statement came into those prosecutor’s offices bleeding, lumpy, and injured, and not one of those prosecutors said, ‘Hey, they are beating the hell out of these guys, and they should stop,' " Mr. Cavise says.

Ronald Kitchen and Marvin Reeves received the settlements of $6.15 million each. Their convictions in a 1988 multiple-murder case that put them behind bars was overturned in 2009, when they received certifications from the county verifying their innocence.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel apologizes for two decades of police torture (+video) [Mark Guarino/Christian Science Monitor]

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  1. Sounds like the first of the Three Letters joke:

    A new CEO had been hired by the board to take over a flagging company. Asking the old guy if there was anything he needed to know, he was given three letters and told to open each in turn only in case of dire need.

    The new CEO took things in hand, and pretty soon things were going smoothly for the company. Unfortunately, eventually disaster struck, and he was called by the Board to explain himself. At a loss on what to do, he finally remembered the Three Letters. He opened the first one, which contained these simple words: "Blame it on your precedecessor".
    He took the advice to heart and stood before the Board with that explanation. They grumbled but let him continue as the CEO. The company weathered that rough patch, and things looked good again.
    But some time later, things turned rough again. Sales were down and prospects were grim. When all else failed, he opened the second letter: "Blame it on the economy".
    He made some grand speeches to the company, got everyone to hunker down, and eventually the company saw it through.
    Things were looking good when the third downturn hit. Despite his frantic management, the CEO couldn't get things going again. He finally opened the third letter to read what it said: "Write three letters..."

    But seriously though, good on Rahm Emmanuel to owning up to the fuckup. The first step of solving a problem is admitting there is one...

  2. pjcamp says:

    Apologize? Why isn't someone going to prison?

  3. Daley (as former Cook County state's attorney) had a stake in keeping stone-faced, Rahm does not. That simple really. Meanwhile Rahm dismantles the public school system and sends black and latino neighborhoods into chaos. Progressives bemoaned the corruption of the seemingly endless Daley era in Chicago, but Rahm's version of it makes many of us sadly wistful when thinking of "Da Mare".

    Having said that, any acknowledgement from the city about this is long overdue, so despite his motives I have to congratulate this supreme asshole for doing the right thing*

    *almost surely for the wrong reasons.

    Also, thanks for the cycling infrastructure! Apart from that you're a despicable misery in almost every way...

  4. Maybe the most upsetting thing is that there are only 4 comments on this article while the one above has 67. No one cares. And it will continue, because no one cares.

  5. Right, but the posters seemed to (to me) be asking why there aren't several former cops in jail for long periods, and the answer to that, according to the article, is statute of limitations. Burge is one of the few who faced any penalty, and even in his case, it wasn't for the crime itself, but for perjury in a civil suit about it, a sentence of 4 1/2 years

    At least someone faced some penalty, and it's great that, despite the statute of limitations, the people prosecuting Burge did what little they could do put somebody in jail for something related to it, rather than the far easier task of just shrugging and sweeping it under the rug, but it's far short of what should have happened if there were any real justice.

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