Retired Chicago police commander Jon Burge was arrested at his home near Tampa today on federal charges of lying in a civil case about whether he and officers under his command tortured and physically abused suspects in police custody dating back to the 1980s, reports the Chicago Tribune. The charges alleged that Burge lied and impeded court proceedings in November 2003 when he provided false written answers to questions in a civil lawsuit alleging that he and others engaged in torture and abuse of suspects. Burge, 60, lives near Tampa.
A 2006 special prosecutors’ report paid for by Cook County concluded that dozens of suspects had been tortured by Chicago police but that no one could be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had run out. Today’s indictment gets around that legal problem by charging Burge with perjury, not with actual torture. Burge denied any torture took place. In January, the city approved a $20 million settlement with four alleged torture victims.