Chicago torture victims deserve hearings

December 17, 2010

Police torture victim Mark Clements reports on a protest in Chicago to demand justice for the victims of Chicago cops who are still behind bars.

CHICAGO--Some 30 people gathered outside Cook County Special Prosecutor Stuart Nudelman's office on a cold snowy morning on December 10 to plead their case that all 23 known victims of police torture who remain incarcerated deserve hearings.

Family members of several of the imprisoned victims of former Commander Jon Burge and his men appeared at the event and were emotional in explaining how they have suffered since their loved ones were abused Area Two and Area Three police headquarters.

The Jail Jon Burge Coalition, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and other Chicago-area organizations stood outside Nudelman's downtown Chicago office on Human Rights Day--with a sound system that could be heard two blocks away.

The groups are calling on Nudelman and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to waive their opposition to any Burge victim receiving a hearing on their claims of torture. In a recent appellate court ruling in torture victim Stanley Wrice's case, the justices suggested that the men be afforded a hearing. "We believe that those hearings should be conducted immediately and in a fair manner," activist Tomika Erby said while speaking to the crowd.

What's also clear is that a new special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate acts of torture committed by the detectives who worked under Burge after Burge was terminated by the Chicago Police Department in 1993. This investigation is needed to show a continued pattern of abuse at Area Two and Area Three.

Queen Bey, the cousin of imprisoned torture victim James Gibson, became emotional as she describe the pain and suffering that she and many in James' family have suffered. "James is a crime victim, and he should be afforded every right that a crime victim is offered," she said.

Bey had tears rolling down her face as she was comforted by the mother of another imprisoned torture victim, Gerald Reed, who has spent over 20 years behind bars while maintaining that he is innocent of the crime that landed him in an Illinois prison cell.

The Jail Jon Burge Coalition plans to deliver a letter to Nudelman and Madigan in the coming days outlining their demands. Burge, who was convicted earlier this year of perjury charges related to his torture ring, will be sentenced on January 20 at the federal courthouse, and many are planning to attend.

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