From the 1970’s – the early 1990’s Chicago police used a “midnight crew” to coerce confessions from 100+ black men by beating, suffocating, electrocuting, handcuffing to immobile objects for days, holding guns to their heads, shooting their pets and otherwise torturing them.
In an effort to put that terrible time behind the City, on May 6, 2015, Chicago’s City Council unanimously voted for History’s first reparations package for victims of “racially motivated police torture.”
The ordinance earmarks $5.5 million for compensation of: up to $100,000 per victim, job training, mental health care and counseling, and possible college tuition assistance for their families. In addition, the ordinance issues a public acknowledgement of the torture, a formal apology by the City Council, authorizes a memorial to the victims and mandates insertion of information about the infamous period into Chicago Public Schools’ 8th and 10th grade History. In a clear case of “Justice delayed is justice denied,” survivors of deceased torture victims are not eligible for reparations; only still-living victims may collect.
The notorious “midnight crew” was headed by Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, who served in the Chicago Police Department from 1970 to 1993, rising through the ranks and receiving 13 commendations along the way. Allegations of torture began as early as 1972 but only worsened as Burge was promoted. Burge was finally suspended in 1991and fired in 1993 after investigators concluded that he masterminded the torture.
Burge was never convicted of crimes associated with the torture but was convicted in 2010 of obstruction of justice and perjury in connection with the torture. He was sentenced to more than 4 years in federal prison, served time in prison and resides in a halfway house in Florida.
Despite his conviction and the $100+million incurred by Chicago in legal defense costs for Burge and other members of his “midnight crew,” Burge still has his pension from the Chicago Police Department.
In March 2015, Burge wrote on a police-run blog, “I find it hard to believe that the City’s political leadership could even contemplate giving ‘Reparations’ to human vermin like them.”
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.