The city has already paid out $100 million in settlements in lawsuits related to the infamous police commander.
|Commander Jon Burge filled prisons with innocent men he tortured into confessing.|
The city of Chicago on Tuesday sought to put to rest one of its most persistent scandals, proposing a $5.5 million reparations fund for dozens of torture victims connected to former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his so-called midnight crew of rogue detectives.
The proposal, negotiated with a key plaintiff's attorney and supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would offer free city college tuition for victims and their families, free counseling for psychological issues and substance abuse as well as other assistance to more than 50 potential victims. The city would also issue a formal apology, create a permanent memorial recognizing the victims and ensure that eighth- and 10th-grade students attending Chicago Public Schools would be taught about the Burge case and its brutal legacy, cementing the scandal's role in city history.
But as much as the proposal seeks to end a painful, controversial era — Emanuel said it would "close this book, the Burge book on the city's history" — it is unlikely to stanch the flow of torture claims from victims. A Loyola University Chicago law school dean appointed by a Cook County judge has identified some 20 additional cases in which inmates may have been Burge victims. Other inmates who have made torture claims continue to fight to overturn convictions and win their freedom. And one lawsuit over the torture is pending.
Already, this stubborn scandal has cost taxpayers about $100 million in lawsuit settlements, judgments and other legal costs, according to lawyers.