- Aug 3, 2014
CHICAGO—Victims of police torture under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge would share $5.5 million, receive an apology and see their story taught in school under a reparations package proposed Tuesday that city leaders hope will help close one of the most shameful chapters in Chicago’s history.
More than 100 people have accused Mr. Burge and officers under his command of shocking them with cattle prods, beating them with phone books and suffocating them with bags until they gave false confessions over nearly two decades ending in 1991. While some have already settled for thousands or millions of dollars, the dozens left can each receive up to $100,000 under the proposed ordinance. The proposal is scheduled to be introduced Wednesday and is widely expected to pass when it returns to the council next month for a vote.
“My goal is to both close this book—the Burge book—on the city’s history, close it and bring closure for the victims and make sure that we take this as a city and learn from it about what we have to do going forward because a police department is about public safety, community policing and building trust,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
Amnesty International USA applauded the proposal, which it said was unlike anything a U.S. municipality has ever crafted. “Calling it ‘reparations’ is itself momentous, and the spectrum of what is being presented—restitution, compensation and rehabilitation—is unprecedented,” said Jasmine Heiss, a senior campaigner for the organization