[Marxism] Chicago police tortured report finds

Steven L. Robinson srobin21 at comcast.net
Wed Jul 19 23:43:37 MDT 2006

Inquiry Finds Police Abuse, but Says Law Bars Trials

By Jodi Rudoren

The New York Times

Published: July 20, 2006

CHICAGO, July 19 - Special prosecutors said Wednesday that scores of
criminal suspects were routinely brutalized by police officers on the South
Side of Chicago in the 1970's and 1980's, but that extensive legal research
persuaded them there was no way to skirt the statute of limitations
preventing prosecution.

After four years, more than 700 interviews and $6 million, the prosecutors
said they could prove beyond a reasonable doubt in court at least three
cases of torture by the police, involving five former officers, and that
they had found credible evidence of abuse in about half the 148 complaints
they thoroughly investigated. But they rejected arguments by lawyers for
people alleging abuse who said criminal charges could still be filed.

"We want to make it really clear, we only wish we could indict in these
three cases," Robert D. Boyle, the chief deputy special state's attorney,
said at a morning news conference downtown.

But Flint Taylor, a lawyer who represents some plaintiffs in abuse cases
against the police, likened the situation to Ku Klux Klan killings in the
1960's that have led to prosecutions in recent years. "Something as serious
as police torture, there shouldn't be a statute of limitations," Mr. Taylor
said. "It's like murder."

The prosecutors' long-awaited 292-page report tries to provide closure on a
painful chapter in Chicago history, one that has helped create a chasm
between black residents and white police leaders, has driven changes in law
enforcement procedures and has played a critical role in the national debate
over the death penalty. In May, the United Nations Committee Against Torture
highlighted the Chicago abuse accusations, complaining of "limited
investigation and lack of prosecution."


A few prisoners had cattle prods placed against their genitals, guns shoved
into their mouths or plastic typewriter covers held over their heads until
they passed out, Mr. Boyle said, adding that most were abused with milder
weapons like "the fist, the feet, telephone books."

Prisoners who have alleged torture and their lawyers said they were
profoundly disappointed with the report and that Mr. Daley and Mr. Devine
should face federal indictment along with former Commander Jon Burge, whom
they accuse of overseeing torture, and some officers under his command at
what are known as Detective Areas 2 and 3. They cited at least recent 20
instances of court testimony by police officers, prosecutors and other
officials that they said constituted continuing criminal behavior that would
justify charges of obstruction of justice, perjury, racketeering and civil
rights violations.

"Somebody needs to go to jail," said one of the lawyers, Lawrence Kennon.
"Burge needs to go to jail. His henchmen need to go to jail. The mayor
should be indicted for covering up."

The report, along with 1,452 additional pages on the remainder of the 148
cases, is likely to become fodder for five civil cases alleging abuse
pending in federal court, as well as more than two dozen instances in which
prisoners are challenging their convictions based on accusations of
mistreatment by the police.

Mr. Boyle, whose investigation was ordered by a judge in 2002, said a copy
had also been requested by the United States attorney's office, which has
previously declined to pursue the case.

Full at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/20/us/20chicago.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

More information about the Marxism mailing list