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Police torture victim files lawsuit

Dec. 21, 2011 at 2:54 AM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A man who was in prison 25 years for a crime he did not commit has filed a lawsuit alleging Chicago police tortured him into giving a false confession.

Eric Caine -- who was released in March after a Cook County judge threw out the confession and prosecutors dropped the case -- was 20 when he went to prison for the murder of Vincent and Rafaela Sanchez in their South Chicago home. A co-defendant, Aaron Patterson, was sentenced to death in the case but got off of death row under former Illinois Gov. George Ryan.

Caine was released from prison March 17, one day after former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge began serving a 4 1/2-year federal prison term for perjury and obstruction of justice. Burge was convicted of lying in a civil suit in the case of detectives accused of brutalizing suspects -- including two who are accused of beating Caine during an interrogation, the Chicago Tribune said.

Caine's attorneys say physical evidence linked another man to the deaths of Vincent and Rafaela Sanchez, and when a witness told police he had heard the man admit the crime, "some of the officers" threatened the witness with death.

While he was in prison, Caine, 46, "lost his parents, a grandparent, a sister and brother to death," his lawyers said in a statement.

Speaking to reporters in Chicago Tuesday, Caine said the lawsuit is as much about police violence as it is about money, the Tribune said.

"The only thing that gets people's attention is when you start threatening their jobs, their livelihoods," Caine said. "I can't even put a number on the years I lost. … There are no words in my vocabulary to express the pain that I felt."

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