A History of Brutality, Racism,
and Corruption in the

Jon Burge and Torture by the Chicago Police

Torture? In Chicago? This has been exposed by journalists and confirmed by internal investigations of the CPD and human rights organizations. For more than 10 years, Commander Jon Burge practiced the torture of black people on the west side. While Burge has been fired, many of the CPD's practices of unlawful detention and torture appear to continue today. Dismissed from the CPD in 1993, Burge was never charged with any crime and has retired on his police pension in Florida.

Torture Report to be released in June!

Eric Zorn on the implications

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In January 2005, Federal Appeals Judge Diane Woods said of the allegations against Burge

“ [A] mountain of evidence indicates that torture was an ordinary occurrence at the Area Two station of the Chicago Police Department.....Indeed, the alleged conduct is so extreme that, if proven, it would fall within the prohibitions established by the United Nations Convention Against Torture ("CAT"), which defines torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession . . .," thereby violating the fundamental human rights principles that the United States is committed to uphold. . . . 

Excerpt from the Goldston Report, an official inquiry by the CPD Office of Professional Standards. The report concluded that "abuse did occur and ...it was systematic." The abuse went on over ten years and "went into such esoteric areas as psychological techniques and planned torture."

Frequency of Methods of Torture Used by Burge
Complete text of Goldston report on Burge case (pdf)

Shielded from Justice - Human Rights Watch Report on Police Torture in Chicago
Daley Knew in '82. Comprehensive website on the Burge case and its coverup.
Petition for appointment of special prosecutor: details of the 15 years of John Burge's torture ring inside the CPD.
Torture in Belfast, Jerusalem, and Chicago - interview with John Conroy whose articles and book exposed the scandal.

Judge Paul Biebel decided that a decade old report on police torture should be released. Fox News reports that the allegations against Jon Burge and his fellow officers include "... officers using suffocation techniques, such as placing a typewriter cover over a suspect's head, along with electric shocks, beatings and mock Russian roulette to elicit confessions."

Steve Drizin on the problems with Mirande and false confessions


Commander Jon Burge

The Burge Case Year by Year
Look over the 'line-up" in John Conroy's "Who's Who"
in the Chicago Reader

The Death Row 10: Victims of Jon Burge

Those listed here are referred to as the death row 10 because they were on death row and known to some extent to have been tortured by John Burge. The 4 in red were pardoned by George Ryan when he granted clemency to all those on death row. Three of the 4 are not in jail, Patterson is now serving a long federal sentence. The Special Prosecutor has alleged that Burge has tortured at least 195 people.

1. Madison Hobley
2. Leonard Kidd
3. Aaron Patterson
4. Andrew Maxwell
5. Stanley Howard
6. Derrick King
7. Ronald Kitchen
8. Reginald McHaffey
9. Leroy Orange
10. Jerry McHaffey
11. Frank Bounds (deceased)
12. Darrel Cannon

Aaron Patterson admittedly has a checkered history, but it is also true that he was wrongfully convicted by the use of torture. Follow his story here.

CPD Torture leads to wrongful conviction of Aaron Patterson
Aaron Patterson's Homepage
Salim Muwakkil on the global costs of police brutality