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Torture Results in Wrongful Convictions

There are many people in our prison system who are serving lifetime sentences or who received the  death penalty for crimes they confessed to while being tortured – for crimes they did in fact not commit. These “wrongful convictions” have resulted in numerous lawsuits throughout the country, some of which have been successful and are creating momentum for change.

Here is one case study from Chicago:

The People’s Law Office in Chicago has succeeded in numerous cases involving police brutality and torture. Most notably, they won a lawsuit against former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, who stood accused of  120 documented cases of torture of African Americans over a 20 year period. After many years and  a groundswell of support calling for his prosecution, on April 1, 2013, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

On July 24th, 2013, the City of Chicago was ordered to pay 10 million dollars to Eric Caine, one of many lawsuits filed against Jon Burge. Mr. Caine was represented by the Chicago law firm of Loevy and Loevy. He spent 25 years in jail for a crime he confessed to while being tortured, but did not commit.

Though Burge is now serving a 4 1/2 year sentence for lying about his knowledge of police torture, he is still receiving his pension from the City of Chicago.

You can hear some of the Burge torture survivors tell their stories in these YouTube videos provided by the People’s Law Office:

Michael Tillman: His Torture & Wrongful Conviction

Police Torture Chicago Style: Darrell Cannon, Anthony Holmes and Flint Taylor Speak Out

Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge And His Torture Victims

Ronald Kitchen: Tortured, Framed, Then Sentenced to Death

1. Contact Mayor Rahm Emanuel and demand that he issue an official apology to the Burge torture survivors, their families and the African American community of Chicago on behalf of the City of Chicago and its police department;
2. Demand of the Mayor, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle  and the appropriate Aldermen that a fund be established to compensate those survivors of Burge torture who have no legal claim due to the statute of limitations. The People’s Law Office in Chicago, and the Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project are working with Alderman to establish this fund through the introduction of a new ordinance: REPARATIONS FOR THE CHICAGO POLICE TORTURE SURVIVORS. You can read the entire ordinance below and, after you read about it, we encourage you to sign the petition to “Pass the Ordinance Seeking Reparations for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors”
3. Write Special Prosecutor Stuart Nudelman and demand that he agree to new hearings for all those torture survivors who remain behind bars as a consequence of tortured confessions;
4. Write Chicago Congressmen, particularly Representatives Danny Davis, Luis Guitierrez, Bobby Rush, Jan Schakowsky, and Mike Quigley, and demand that they sponsor and reintroduce Danny Davis’ 2011 Bill entitled the “Law Enforcement Torture Prevention Act”