Report into alleged Chicago police torture to be released
By Carlos Sadovi
Tribune staff reporter
Published June 30, 2006, 12:04 PM CDT
A report into purported torture of criminal suspects by Chicago police will be released in "a few weeks," the court-appointed special prosecutor looking into the allegations said today.
"I see no impediment" to releasing the document, Robert D. Boyle told Cook County Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel. "We will now publish the report."
Biebel appointed Boyle and Edward J. Egan four years ago to investigate allegations that officers operating under former Cmdr. Jon Burge tortured 192 African-American men in interrogation rooms in the 1970s and 1980s.
Boyle did not give Biebel a specific date when the report would be released but said it could be before the next scheduled status hearing in the case, July 20. The special prosecutor said he would give about one week's notice before releasing the document.
Allegations have circulated for years that detectives under Burge in the Area 2 violent crime unit elicited confessions from suspects by beating them, playing mock Russian roulette, using electric shock and starting to smother at least one with a typewriter cover.
No one has ever been charged, but Burge was fired in 1993 after a police board found that a murder suspect was abused while in his custody. Meanwhile, the allegations have drawn attention from human rights groups around the United States and prompted several of the alleged victims to file civil lawsuits.
Boyle said the report cannot yet be released because special prosecutors are looking into two more cases of alleged police abuse recently brought to their attention by Flint Taylor, a lawyer with the People's Law Clinic, who represents Burge's purported victims.
Taylor today said the city and Mayor Richard Daley, who was Cook County state's attorney at the time of the alleged abuse, should request a federal investigation of the incidents as a hate crime.
"We are calling on the city and the mayor to step up and demand a federal prosecution. It's time for the city to stop financing the defense of Burge," Taylor said.
Today's developments followed a June 20 decision by the Illinois Supreme Court denying a request by "John Doe," one of those called to testify before the special prosecutors' grand jury, to block the report's release. "Doe" is believed to have been a high-ranking assistant state's attorney under Daley.
This morning, the Cook County judge hearing the John Doe case removed his seal from the report, allowing it to be made public.
But Judge Michael Toomin did allow a previous ruling to stand, barring any testimony John Doe gave to the grand jury to be released in the report. Sources have said the man pleaded his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination when he appeared before the grand jury.
Community activist Wallace "Gator" Bradley said the state Supreme Court's decision "makes me feel good, because I see finality to the long wait."
Bradley also called for a federal hate crime probe, and said, "My fear is that some of the assistant state's attorneys mentioned in the report are now judges, and I'm asking that they resign."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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