image POST CHICAGO POLICE COMMANDER JON BURGE 20 YEAR TORTURE SAGA

The purpose of the prior 5 blog  series about Chicago’s past proven claims of detainees being tortured  by Chicago police, is to explain why residents cannot take the word of the Chicago police or their mouth pieces that the allegations of detainee abuse by police, as reported in the 2/24 and the 2/25/15 Guardian news outlet, are false. Nothing  short of an independent, above board, thorough, and transparent  audit of the Homan Square station, is acceptable.

RICHARD BOYKIN
RICHARD BOYKIN

For review, the Chicago power brokers did their level best to deny knowledge and then to avoid any accountability for a 40 year period, the claims of police torture by at least 120 African Americans. Several of these victims who were tortured into death row, have been freed in recent years.

This cycle of torture which rivals any excessive intensive interrogation methods practiced by the CIA, occurred under the auspices of a Chicago career police officer who rose in the ranks to become a Commander, Jon Burge from the years of 1972- 1993.

Jon Burge was fired  in 1993. It took 13 years after his firing, peppered with lots of bureaucratic roadblocks, before a Cook County prosecutor found evidence of widespread abuses committed by Jon Burge and his sycophants, in 2006 subsequent to a lengthy investigation. But the prosecutor was hampered by the statute of limitations which had passed.

Federal prosecutors later convicted Jon Burge for lying during his testimony in a 2003 civil case where he denied any knowledge of torture abuse ever having been committed under his command.

In 2010, Jon Burge’ s trial brought forth many of his victims who lined up to detail all the torture techniques which they had endured.

During his trial in 2010, many of Burge’s victims lined up to describe the atrocities they had suffered during torture sessions. Their descriptions included revelations that Jon Burge’s henchmen had suffocated suspects with plastic bags and used cattle prods to shock their genitals.

At last, Jon Burge faced jail time in 2011 followed up by his release from a Tampa halfway house in February, 2015 with his intact, annual pension of $54000.

image_mini jon burge headline

The story does not end here. For example, some city officials would like to establish a $20 million fund for these torture victims which the current Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not endorsing. On 10/3/14, Trymaine Lee of MSNBC wrote an update and here are some excerpts:

“Last year (2014), Mayor Rahm Emmanuel apologized on behalf of the city, calling Burge’s reign of terror a “dark chapter in the history of the city of Chicago.”

“All of us,” Emanuel said, are “sorry for what happened.”

“Burge has cost the city and Cook County nearly $100 million in legal fees and settlements. The city last year alone approved a $12.3 million settlement to a pair of Burge’s victims who are among the 120 known black victims of Burge’s ring. So far, according to various reports, the city has paid about $67 million in settlements to 18 victims and more than $20 million in lawyers to defend Burge, former mayor Richard Daley and the city.”

Protest-Against-The-Homan-Square-Police-Facility

“This week (October 2014) an ordinance was introduced at City Hall to set aside a $20 million compensation fund for Burge’s victims. The fund would provide paid tuition to city colleges for survivors and the establishment of a public memorial. It would also require the city’s schools to teach lessons about the case.”

“Joey Mogul, an attorney with the People’s Law Office, told reporters during a press conference at Chicago City Hall on Thursday, (10/9/14)…. those he tortured continue to struggle to cope with the torture they endured without one red cent or redress from the city of Chicago.”

images JON BURGE CARTOON

On 3/12/15, Julie Unruh posted a blog for WGN TV, regarding a Cook County commissioner, Richard Boykin who took time to tour the scandal laden Homan Square police facility and here are some of her excerpts:

“Amid the allegations of detainee abuse and protests surrounding the Chicago facility, a Cook County Commissioner spoke out on (3/12/15) about the Homan Square station.”

“Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin toured the Chicago Police Department facility after allegations that the rights of people detained for questioning are being abused there.”

“Boykin said he went away with more questions than answers. The commissioner shared more about what he didn’t find inside.”

CHICAGO POLICE GRADUATION
CHICAGO POLICE GRADUATION

“Some of the claims, like detainees being held for up to 24 hours, and no access to their lawyers couldn’t be tracked in the police database system. Overcrowded interrogation rooms and physical abuse during questioning prompted Boykin to take a look at the facility –a non-descript unmarked warehouse on the West Side where Chicago police do a lot of undercover work– for himself.”

“It is also a place where some detainees and their lawyers allege people who get arrested, practically fall off the map and become victims of police misconduct.”

“Boykin describes the facility on Monday (3/9/15) as “eerily quiet.” “There  were no suspects in custody and no officers in the area,” he said.”

“He said the interview rooms were small but equipped with cameras. There were no cameras in the lockup however, he said, and no ability to fingerprint anyone.”

“They assured us if a detainee requested  a lawyer, they were given access to a lawyer,” he said.”

“Boykin is asking for the federal government to investigate further to make sure what doesn’t feel right to him is being reviewed thoroughly.”

According to a 3/19/15 Guardian article by Spencer Ackerman, on 3/11/15,  the Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin and Congressman Danny Davis hand delivered to the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, a letter requesting that the Justice Department investigate the abuse allegations within Homan Square station.

UPDATE 3/23/15: There is no love lost between the Attorney General Eric Holder and the Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel as per a 11/15/10 DailyKos article by Mr. Grass Roots. Here are some excerpts:

“The evidence is mounting that Rahm Emanuel’s short tenure at the White House as President Obama’s chief-of-staff was to say the least “stormy.” This is bad news for Emanuel as he begins his campaign to run for Mayor of Chicago. The latest missive fired is from a respected member of the Obama cabinet, Eric Holder, the United States Attorney General, who interviewed with Wil S. Hylton of GQ magazine. There is no love lost between the two men.”

“As reported by Mr. Hylton, the President himself intervened on behalf of Holder…

Inside Obama’s West Wing, Emanuel’s hostility toward Holder has become so pitched at times that the president has had to intervene. “Occasionally, Rahm would cross the line about Eric,” says a source with access to White House deliberations, “and the president would tell him, ‘Rahm, knock it off.’ “

e659a99d-2ebf-42e4-91a6-d3b94ee46edd-620x372 best gitmo

Finally, it looks like a Homan Square police station victim has decided to file a suit against the Chicago PD. On 3/15/15, Lizzie Johnson filed a story regarding this suit with the Chicago Tribune and here are some excerpts from her report:

“A grocery worker and two customers have alleged that Chicago police officers wearing masks illegally took them to the department’s Homan Square facility more than three years ago and threatened to frame them with false charges while detaining them for hours.”

“The Police Department has denied the newspaper’s allegations and, in a statement Friday, called the articles “inaccurate and misleading.”

“They decided to file the lawsuit after the British newspaper The Guardian wrote a series of recent articles alleging that the Police Department uses its Homan Square facility on the West Side as a “CIA-style interrogation black site” where detainees disappeared for hours.”

“The lawsuit alleges that city officials knew about the problems at Homan Square but ignored them, allowing the pattern of abuse to continue.”

“The Police Department has denied the newspaper’s allegations and, in a statement Friday, called the articles “inaccurate and misleading.”

“Arrest and interview procedures are matters of people’s most basic rights, and CPD abides by all laws, rules and guidelines … at Homan Square or any other CPD facility,” the statement said.

“John Holden, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department, said the city would vigorously fight the lawsuit.”

CHICAGO ST PATTY'S DAY PARADE
CHICAGO ST PATTY’S DAY PARADE

“We just received this suit and we are in the process of reviewing it. What we do know is that these individuals were present when a search warrant was executed which resulted in the recovery of 180 grams of cocaine, along with cash,” Holden’s statement said. “We believe that this case should be dismissed on legal grounds.”

“The incident started at the Paseo Boricua Grocery and Deli in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Sept. 9, 2011, according to the lawsuit. Jose Garcia was working at the store at 2706 W. Division St., while John Vergara and Carlos Ruiz were buying coffee.”

At least three masked officers stormed in, ordered them onto the floor, searched and handcuffed them, the lawsuit says.

“They were completely covered in black,” said the men’s attorney, Blake Horwitz. “It really terrified my clients.”

“They were taken without warrants to Homan Square, handcuffed to the wall of a cell with no toilet and denied the right to call an attorney or family members, according to the suit.”

“They told the individuals that they would be arrested if they did not give some information,” Horwitz said. “They were told they would be criminally prosecuted.”

“Horwitz said the men waited to file the suit out of fear. For weeks after the incident, officers drove by the store each day, yelling warnings at Garcia that they were watching him, the lawsuit said.”

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has apologized for what happened under Jon Burge, he has yet to endorse reparations
While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has apologized for what happened under Jon Burge, he has yet to endorse reparations

“They would point fingers and nod at him with the intent of scaring him into not following up legally,” Horwitz said.”

“Horwitz said the statute of limitations usually requires a civil rights lawsuit to be filed within two years of the event — unless the plaintiff has been threatened with retaliation.”

“The lawsuit can be filed for a reasonable amount of time afterward based on the officer’s threat,” Horwitz said. “You can’t try to stop someone from filing a lawsuit just because you’re in a position of power.”

Again, the 3/19/15 Guardian news broke another story by Spencer Ackerman, that the senior Chicago police commander in charge of a major unit operating out of Homan Square has tendered his resignation. This is what he wrote: “Nicholas Roti, the chief of the bureau of organized crime, resigned from the Chicago Police Department last week.”

“In an emailed reply to the Guardian on Thursday night (3/19/15 ), Martin Maloney of the Chicago Police Department said: “Chief Roti left the Chicago Police Department to become chief of staff for the Illinois State police (ISP) where he will work for another CPD official who was appointed to be the director of ISP. It has been in the works for some time.”

In short, Chief Nicholas Roti resigned a day after the law suit was filed and two days after Attorney General Holder was in receipt of the letter, hand delivered by the Cook County Commissioner, Richard Boykin and Congress representative Danny Davis.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Chicago’ Homan Square: Torture by Any Other Name… | G …  3/17/15 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/chicagohomansquare-…

ChicagoHoman Square: Torture by Any Other Name. … Homan Square itself has a direct tie to other brutal chapters of Chicago police history: 

Rahm Emanuel is the wrong person for Chicago – Daily Kos  m.dailykos.com/stories/2010/11/15/920512/-.html Nov 15, 2010 – There is no love lost between the two men. … Inside Obama’s West Wing, Emanuel’s hostility toward Holder has become so pitched at times

4 comments

  1. These stories, they do not end. They get hidden away but they do not end. We forget them because the media do not focus on them, but they do not end.

    I find it appalling they exist. I find it appalling this nation looks away.

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    You are so right that the ugliness never seems to end. There is one advantage today. People in the internet can keep any story alive to counter the establishment press when they chose to ignore events in their own back yard.

Comments are closed.