Board: Burge can keep pension

Jan. 27, 2011 at 8:10 PM
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CHICAGO, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A former Chicago police official may keep his pension while serving a sentence for lying in a deposition about torturing suspects, pension officials have ruled.

Jon Burge, 63, of Apollo Beach, Fla., is scheduled to begin serving a 54-month sentence March 16 for lying during a deposition in a 2003 civil case, when he denied using or being aware that other officers used "improper coercion, physical abuse or torture" against suspects.

Four members of the police pension fund board of directors voted to permit Burge to continue receiving his $3,039.03 monthly pension -- one vote short of the five necessary to strip him of the pension, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday. Those voting to allow Burge to continue receiving the payments said his conviction was not directly related to his police duties, the newspaper said.

Pension Board President Kenneth Hauser said Burge had been retired for 10 years when he was convicted.

"It wasn't on charges of what he did when he was a police officer," Hauser said. "It was on a lie that he made in front of a civil jury."

Attorney Flint Taylor, who has represented clients alleging Burge tortured them, told the Tribune the decision "is a total slap in the face to the entire city and particularly the African-American community."

Burge, who rose to the rank of commander before he was fired in 1993 as a result of the allegations of abuse, was convicted in June 2010 of two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury.

Evidence presented during his trial indicated Burge suffocated suspects with plastic bags, shocked them with electrical devices and held a loaded gun to their heads.

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