Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge’
Ex-Chicago police detective charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, after allegedly lying about torture of suspects
One of the city’s most persistent and troubling scandals reaches federal court Thursday when jury selection begins in the trial of Jon Burge, the former Chicago police detective accused of overseeing the torture of suspects.
For nearly two decades, Burge and his detectives allegedly sent dozens of men to prison on the basis of coerced confessions, deepening bitterness between police and minorities and helping inspire former Gov. George Ryan to reject capital punishment and empty the state’s death row.
But Burge, now 62, living on a police pension and reportedly in poor health, will not be tried for any act of torture. While federal prosecutors say they will prove that he and his detectives abused suspects, the statute of limitations expired long ago. Instead, Burge stands accused of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying in 2003 when he denied under oath he knew of or participated in abuse of suspects.
The fact that Burge is facing any kind of criminal charge is seen by some as a long-overdue opportunity for vindication.
“Jon Burge standing trial means a lot to the African-American community, and it means a lot to me, that finally some justice will come out of this ordeal of torture,” said Mark Clements, 45, an alleged victim of Burge’s officers who was released from prison in August after 28 years behind bars.
But Ronald Kitchen, 51, another alleged victim who was freed in July after 21 years in prison, isn’t satisfied.
“Who wouldn’t want to see him put in the same cage he put us in?” Kitchen said. “But unless he gets up on the stand and admits what he did, there’s no justice in it for me.”
Burge is expected to attend Thursday’s session in Judge Joan Lefkow’s courtroom, where potential jurors will be given a questionnaire. On May 24, they will return for the completion of jury selection.
Burge’s attorney, Richard Beuke, declined to allow his client to be interviewed by the Tribune but said the former detective will “vehemently deny all these allegations.”
“He is looking forward to an opportunity to finally face these people in court with a jury that will hopefully understand the law and the evidence and do their best to give him a fair trial in light of all the negative publicity that plaintiff’s lawyers and politicians have feasted upon at his expense,” Beuke said. “We want to make sure that this trial is tried in the courtroom.”
Torture probe expands to cops under his command
Former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge faces trial next month on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice linked to police brutality.(AP)
A new federal grand jury has been impaneled to expand the investigation of allegations of police torture under former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge, the Chicago Sun-Times and NBC5 News have learned.
The grand jury is investigating what was commonly referred to as the Midnight Crew, officers who worked for Burge, according to a source.
This comes as federal prosecutors ready their case against Burge. The aging detective commander is set to go on trial May 6, charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.
None of the officers under Burges command has ever been charged in connection with the torture allegations. The new grand jury may decide whether that time has finally come.
Burge and his detectives have always maintained they mistreated no one.
But according to attorney Flint Taylor, Burge was the ringleader of a band of seven or eight officers that operated out of Area 2 in the 1970s and 80s.
They were called the Midnight Crew because of the hours they worked.
Under the cover of darkness and the fact that there were relatively few of them, they could do what other detectives felt they couldnt get away with, and that is torture people, Taylor said. And you just have case after case under them of baggings, of electric shock, of mock executions in the 80s which was the heyday of the Midnight Crew. (more…)
SHOCKED AND AMAZED as he was released on January 14, 2010, Chicago police torture victim Michael Tillman walked out of the Cook County court building in Chicago a free man at last.
Tillman is one of almost 200 African American and Latino men who allege that they were beaten and tortured by detectives who worked under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, who was fired in 1993 for his acts of torture on Andrew and Jackie Wilson in the early 1980s. In 1993, and again in 2006, it was learned that Burge and a group of detectives that worked under his command indeed had beaten and tortured suspects into making incriminating confessions against their will. (more…)