Chicago's Dirty War of Torture

The Mayoral Accountables

Richard J. Daley. 1955-1976. Burge was hired and began his dirty war of torture in 1972 when Daley was mayor. At least seven confirmed instances of torture took place while Daley was mayor.

Michael Bilandec. 1976-1979. Burge was promoted to Seargeant under Bilandec. At least two confirmed instances of torture took place while Bilandec was mayor.

No documentation he did anything to address torture.

Jane Byrne. 1979-1983. Praised Burge in the "manhunt" that led to the torturing of Andrew Wilson. At least 35 confirmed instances of torture took place while she was mayor.

On August 1, 2003, the Chicago Reader, quoting an unnamed Area 2 detective, 60 wrote the following concerning the five day manhunt in February of 1982 which resulted in the arrest and torture of Andrew Wilson: The five-day manhunt was directed by Burge, the violent crimes commander in Area Two. It dominated the news. Mayor Jane Byrne offered a $50,000 reward and met with Burge during the investigation. Failed to launch an investigation into credible allegations that Burge and officers under him were torturing suspects.

Renault Robinson, director of the Afro-American Police League, called the dragnet in the Wilson case "sloppy police work, a matter of racism." He compared the police action to that of a southern sheriff leading a posse that turned into a lynch mob. Jesse Jackson announced that the black community was living under martial law, in "a war zone . . . under economic, political, and military occupation," that the Police Department was holding "the entire black community hostage for the crimes of two." In fact the Illinois Supreme Court in granting Wilson a second criminal trial, wrote, "The evidence here shows clearly that when the defendant was arrested at 5:15 am on February 14, he may have received a cut above his right eye but that he had no other injuries; it is equally clear that when the defendant was taken by police officers to Mercy Hospital sometime after 10 o'clock that night he had about 15 separate injuries on his head, chest, and leg. The inescapable conclusion is that the defendant suffered his injuries while in police custody that day . . ."

Harold Washington. 1983-1987. Appointed Fred Rice,Buirge supporter, as Suprintnednet. At least 37 confirmed instances of tortiure took place while he was mayor.

No documentation he did anything to address widely known claims of torture.


Eugene Sawyer 1987-1989. At least 7 documented cases of torture took place while he was mayor.


No documentation he did anything to address widely known claims of torture.


Richard M. Daley. 1989-2011. Could have stopped the torture from the first days. At least 18 confrmed cases of torture took place while he was mayor.

In 1994-5 promotes Peter Dignan to Lieutenant despite pending torture allegations. Mayor Richard M. Daley was quoted as saying of the Goldston Report, “these are only allegations . . . not substantiated cases,” and defended Martin’s suppression of the report, stating: “it’s allegations, rumors, stories, things like that” and of denying that the torture at Area 2 was “systematic.” Chicago Tribune, 2/8/92, “13 Years of Cop Torture Alleged;” Los Angeles Times, 2/8/92, “Chicago Police Used Torture Report Says.”

In attempting to setle the Hobley, Organs, and Howard cases, the city of Chicago agreed to pay a total of $14.8 million in damage claims and attorneys' fees, and in exchange, lawyers for the plaintiffs agreed to certain noneconomic terms suggested by the city's counsel, including:

(1) they wouldn't name Daley as a defendant "in a civil rights, obstruction of justice, and racketeering conspiracy . . . and they would not seek a finding of liability and damages from Daley for his alleged conspiratorial actions while serving as Cook County State's Attorney";

(2) they wouldn't pursue Daley's deposition in the three cases though they would continue to pursue Dick Devine, Daley's successor as state's attorney, and other Cook County officials (Howard and Orange had also sued Cook County officials, though Hobley had not);

(3) they wouldn't criticize Daley in any public statements made in connection with the settlement;

(4) these terms would remain secret and would not be put in the written settlement agreement.

See Daley as States Attorney


Rahm Emmanuel 2011-? Burge defender Terry Hillard was appointed by Mayor Daley as Interim Superintendent which would not have been done without Emmanuel's approval..