Judges to hear 5 cases of alleged torture

Sept. 19, 2012 at 1:52 AM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The cases of five men allegedly tortured by Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge's "midnight crew" of detectives were assigned to judges Tuesday, records show.

The Illinois Torture Relief and Inquiry Commission referred the cases of George Ellis Anderson, Darryl Christian, Shawn Whirl, David Randle and Gerald Reed to Chief Cook County Circuit Judge Timothy Evans after finding their claims of torture to be credible, the Chicago Tribune reported. The men, all African-Americans, were convicted of murders after Burge and his men extracted confessions through torture, prosecutors allege.

Reed's initial allegations of torture in 1990 fell on deaf ears even after X-rays showed a steel rod in his leg had been broken after the alleged beating, but more than two decades later he is getting his day in court, the newspaper said.

In 2008 the City Council approved a $19.8 million settlement with four other torture victims.

Two other Chicago-area men were awarded a $7.17 million settlement related to Burge's crimes after the Chicago City Council agreed to the payments in July.

Michael Tillman, who confessed to a 1986 murder and rape after he was tortured by police during the investigation and spent 23 years in prison before being declared innocent, will receive $5.37 million. David Fauntleroy, against whom charges in a 1983 double murder were dropped in 2009, will receive $1.8 million.

However, dozens of additional cases of alleged torture may not be pursued if the commission, which was established in 2009, doesn't receive the required funding.

"We are pursuing various avenues to try and continue the work of the commission, but financially, if we can't do that then these will be the first and the last cases," said attorney David Thomas, the commission's former executive director.

Burge is serving a 4 1/2-year term in federal prison for lying about torture and abuse of suspects.

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