Chicago to Pay $20 Million for Men Tortured by Police

Chicago has agreed to pay roughly $20 million to four former death row inmates who claimed they were tortured by Chicago police and wrongly convicted.

Accused in the lawsuits were former Lt. Jon Burge and his officers. Under the agreement, The four inmates — Aaron Patterson, Leroy Orange, Stanley Howard and Madison Hobley — would received $19.8 million settlement — Hobley to receive $7.5 million, Orange $5.5 million, Patterson $5 million and Howard $1.8 million.This is in addition to roughly $7 million used to investigate a pattern of torture and coercion in Chicago.

The Chicago Reader did a long story on Burge and reported:

In September he was deposed at length in four civil suits and one parole board hearing, cases involving five men who said they’d been tortured by Area Two detectives. He gave his name, said he’d worked for the police department, agreed that he’d received a subpoena to testify, and responded to all further questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

Over the course of the past eight months, 30 other men who served with and under Burge have also taken the Fifth in depositions for the same cases. Thus far, all have been white. (James Sotos, who represents Burge and other Chicago police officers in one of those civil suits, claims the officers were willing to testify until he told them not to.)

However, four black officers who served at Area Two with Burge have recently given sworn statements providing new information about the Burge era. Former detective Melvin Duncan, who worked at Area Two from 1971 to 1978, gave the People’s Law Office’s Flint Taylor an affidavit saying he’d seen a dark wooden box in the Robbery Unit office when Burge served there. The box, he said, reminded him of a hand-cranked electrical device his father had made and had demonstrated by giving him and his brother “little shocks.” Duncan’s sworn statement also says, “While working at Area 2, I heard that certain Robbery detectives used an electrical box and cattle prods on people to get confessions from them.”

For the Chicago Reader story, click here

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