Chicago Cops Tortured Suspects In ’70s, ’80s: Prosecutors


Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge led the 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, says the Chicago Tribune, quoting a special prosecutors’ report. Ending a four-year probe, prosecutors painted a portrait of a criminal justice system where top officials in a position to stop Burge–among them Mayor Richard Daley when he was Cook County state’s attorney–appeared blind to the abuse. The prosecutors concluded, it’s too late to pursue charges against Burge or any of the other officers. Statutes of limitations have long since run out on the cases, which they said stretched from the 1970s through the 1980s.

The prosecutors singled out for criticism former Chicago Police Supt. Richard Brzeczek, who served under Mayor Jane Byrne. Brzeczek was guilty of “dereliction of duty,” failing to act in the early 1980s on suspicions that Burge and detectives under his command had mistreated prisoners, the prosecutors said. The report could find its way into civil lawsuits that former death row inmates have filed against Burge and the city. Burge was fired by the Chicago Police Board in 1993 for allegedly torturing a murder suspect. He lives in Florida and still receives a monthly city pension of more than $3,400. He has consistently denied torture allegations.


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