Chicago's Dirty War of Torture

The Police Superintendent Accountables

James Conlisk. 1967-1974. In charge when Burge began his torturing.

Richared Brzeczek. 1980- 1983. Accused of "dereliction of duty" by Special State's Attorney in 2001.

On February 17, 1982, affter examining Wilson, Dr. John Raba, Medical Director of Cermak Health Services, sends a letter to the Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek detailing Wilson’s allegations and injuries, and requesting an investigation into Wilson’s torture allegations. Feb. 25, 1982 – Police Superintendent Brzeczek defers acting on Raba’s request, but instead forwards it to State’s Attorney Daley, who takes no action. Brzeczek further informed Daley that he would not initiate a criminal investigation into the allegations that Wilson was tortured unless Daley authorized such an investigation The investigation into Wilson's claims was initiated by Superintendet Brzeczek. .

The Report of the Special State's Attorney in 2001 said: "The evidence supports the conclusions that Superitendent Brzeczek was guily of a “dereliction of duty” and did not act in good faith in the investigation and the claim of Andrew Wilson. Despite the fact that Brzeczek believed that offices in the violent Crimes unit of Detective Area 2 had tortured Andrew Wilson he kept that belief to himself for over twenty years.  He also kept Burge in command at Area 2 and issue a letter of commendation to all of the detective at Area 2.”

He ran against Mr. Daley for state’s attorney in 1984 after resigning as police superintendent.

Twenty years later, Brzeczek, then a defense attorney, said that there is ‘no doubt in my mind’ that Burge and his detectives tortured some suspects. The whole situation at Area 2 [was] a disgrace and an embarrassment. It’s time something is done about it,” Brzeczek said, referring to the former Burnside station on the southside where most of the torture allegedly occurred. Brzeczek further averred that “subsequent to [his] resignation from the Chicago Police Department, [he] monitored litigation initiated by persons making claims and/or allegations regarding torture sustained at the hands of police officers at Detective Division Area 2. [He] further monitored the prosecution of certain police officers previously assigned to Area 2 based on allegations of torture and other improper treatment of prisoners under their control 72


Fred Rice. 1983 - 1987. First African American Police Chief, appointed by Harold Washington. In 1992 testified as character witness for Burge at Police Board hearings, saying he had no regrets about Burge's promotion.

Rice was aware of the torture of Darryl Cannon and others and did nothing. In a memo of November 5, 1984 to Superintendent Fred Rice, David Fogel wrote: “the following is a list of Complaint Register Investigations involving the use of electrical shocking devices during the past twelve month period.”

As police superintendent in 1984 received report from the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) on allegations of electrical torture made within the previous 12 months. The document, compiled by OPS supervisors, mentioned Burge and three incidents from Area Two—not including the Andrew Wilson case and others that occurred earlier—in addition to allegations of electric shock in Districts 1, 9, 11, 14, 19, and 20. Subsequently gave Burge a double promotion—from lieutenant, skipping the rank of captain—to deputy commander. In 1992 testified as character witness for Burge at Police Board hearings, saying he had no regrets about the promotion.



LeRoy Martin. 1987 - 1992. In 1983 Martin was appointed Commander of Area 2 and serves as Burge’s direct supervisor.

Says CPD is "toughest gang in town." During the year that Martin was Commander of Area 2, numerous suspects, including Gregory Banks and Darrell Cannon are are allegedly tortured under Burge’s direction and supervision by trusted Burge associates, Sgt. John Byrne, detective Peter Dignan, and other Area 2 detectives.

While Martin was Commander of Area 2, there were numerous allegations of torture against Burge and his men, with four separate cases and five victims alleging electric shock, baggings and beatings in the time period of October 27, 1983 to November 18, 1983 alone. Plaintiff’s Listing of Known Burge, Area 2 and 3 Torture Victims, 1972-1991. Jon Burge, Sergeant John Byrne, and more than twenty other Area 2 detectives who are alleged to have committed repeated acts of torture at Area 2 while Martin was Commander, have all invoked the Fifth Amendment when asked if they discussed any of these allegations with Martin. See, Generally, Depositions of Burge, Byrne, et. al.

On September 14, 1989, Mary Powers, and other community activists appeared before the Police Board and, in Superintendent Martin’s presence, again raised the torture evidence and the demand that Burge be fired. Superintendent Martin responded by stating: “Commander Burge is working, as far as I know, he’ll be working Ms. Powers. I have no reason to suspend Commander Burge. You want him suspended. I have no reason to suspend him at this time.” Police Board Proceedings, 9/14/89, pp. 90-91.

Also in 1988, Burge requested that Martin intervene with the City Council Finance Committee to obtain private council at the City’s expense to represent him in the Wilson civil trial, and Martin conveyed his request. Letters of 8/23/88 and 10/25/88. The City Council approved Burge’s request, William Kunkle, Richard Devine, and their law firm was selected by Burge, and the City paid them approximately $1 million dollars to represent Burge for the next eight years. Letters of 8/23/88 and 10/25/88, Payment Records, Phelan, Pope and John.

Martin had been Burge's supervisor at Area Two for nine months in 1983 and hence seemed to be implicated, though not by name, by the Goldston and Sanders OPS reports. Martin sat on both reports for more than a year, doing nothing. Finally, on November 8, 1991, he suspended Burge, Yucaitis, and O'Hara without pay, and formal charges were filed with the Police Board seeking their permanent dismissal.

In an article which appeared in the February 8, 1992 Chicago Tribune, Superintendent Leroy Martin, who was one of the previous Area 2 Commanders, was quoted as saying that it was an “outright lie” that Area 2 commanders knew about or condoned torture. Chicago Tribune, “13 Years of Cop Torture Alleged,” February 8, 1992. In the same article, Mayor Richard M. Daley was quoted as saying of the Report, “these are only allegations . . . not substantiated cases,” as defending 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.”

After secret communications with Corporation Counsel Kelly Welch, Martin refused to accept or adopt the Goldston findings, open any additional criminal or administrative investigations into the numerous allegations of Area 2 torture, to commission additional investigation into the alleged systemic pattern and practice of torture, or to discipline or seek criminal charges against any of the named officers, but rather contacted the Police Foundation in order to have them evaluate the methodology used by Goldston in arriving at his findings. Martin Letter to Williams, 11/8/91; City Privilege Log.

On August 27, 2004 in his sworn testimony before the Prisoner Review Board, former Area 2 Commander and Superintendent Leroy Martin falsely denied that he did not have contemporaneous knowledge of the allegations of torture and abuse against Jon Burge and other Area 2 detectives while he was Commander. Tr. of 8/27/04 Parole Revocation Hearing of Darrell Cannon. Michael Johnson CR# 125071


Matt Rodriguez. 1992- 1997. Took no action on many reports of torture.Promoted torturer Peter Dignan after multiple allegations of torture.

On July 30, 1992, almost two years after Superintendent Martin had first received the Goldston findings, the Police Foundation submitted its report to Superintendent of Police Matt Rodriguez. After noting that because “hangings, shockings, ‘baggings’ beatings, chokings, and beatings were alleged to occur, many in the Area 2 Headquarters itself, a thorough and rigorous investigation seemed required,” and that it passed no judgment as to whether the torture alleged had in fact took place, the Report criticized Goldston’s methodology. Rodriguez uses the Police Foundation Report as an excuse to do nothing about torture.

Superintendent Rodriguez tried to promote Dignan to the rank of lieutenant. Rodriguez had compiled a racially diverse list of 13 sergeants whom he, with Mayor Daley's blessing, wanted to promote "on merit," that is, without regard to scores on a promotion exam, and Dignan was one of five white males on the list. The promotions, which were designed in part to increase minority representation in the lieutenants' ranks, were challenged in circuit court by other police officers, ruled illegal, and Dignan was subsequently assigned as a sergeant to the Intelligence Unit of the Organized Crime Division. Last month, however, U.S. district court judge Robert Gettleman, ruling in a separate civil rights suit, ordered the city to proceed with those merit promotions. As a result, Dignan was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

Rodriguez resigned in 1997 after being linked to organized crime figures involved with murder. It was revealed that one of his closest friends is a convicted felon and tax cheat. But the real pressure came from undisclosed facts linking Rodriguez's pal, convicted felon and tax cheat Frank Milito, to Pierre Zonis, a mob connected Chicago cop whose four year career was under the Superintendent's umbrella of protection. Zonis, a Chicago Police officer since 1994 who was named by the Chicago Crime Commission only days before as having crime syndicate ties, had been questioned in the investigations of the three prominent slayings having mob overtones.

Police Foundation 28 Report, “An Analysis of the Methods Employed in the Preparation of the Goldston Report,” 7/30/92.




Terry Hillard. 1998-2003. Reverses sustained findings of torture. Covers up evidence hidden by OPS Director Gayle Shines.

On March 3, 1998, upon becoming Police Superintendent, Hillard told the Chicago Sun Times that “barring new evidence, it's time to close the book on the Burge era and move on.” (Hillard Dep., Santiago v. Marquez, 5/3/99, pp. 32-33, 35-36, 43-46) When OPS Director Shines resigns later in 1988, Hillard, through his legal counsel, after discovering the torture files which have been hidden in Shines’ office, officially reverses the sustained torture findings in a secret directive. These files and findings are later ordered produced by a federal Judge.

Superintendent Hillard, after talking to Neeedham ratified his actions in “not sustaining’” outstanding torture cases, stating, under oath, that “I support Tom Needham 100 percent when it comes down to representing me in this department in hard cases like that.” Hillard Dep., Santiago v. Marquez, 5/3/99, pp. 32-33, 35-36.


Phil Cline. 2003 - 2008. Cline was the Lieutenant in charge of the Area 2 Violent Crimes Unit on January 6, 198 when Madison Hobley was tortured and discussed the questioning with Detective Dwyer (Deposition of Cline in People v. Hobley).

Cline resigned on April 2, 2008 amid headlines of barroom brawls involving off-duty cops in which one beat a female bartender and six beat four businessmen. Cline avoided any prosecution of Burge and the torturers and established the Special Operations Section or SOS. SOS was an elite unit that seized guns and drugs in high-crime areas, but has been linked to home invasions, drug dealing,. kidnapping, and it's de facto leader, Jerome Finnegan, indictded for murder after he attempted to hire 2-6 gang members to murder 4 CPD officers who were cooperating with the US Attorney.


Jody Weis. 2008- 201. Did nothing to bring any of the CPD officers still active to justice or dispute pensions for those demonstrated as torturers.

Weis resigned after Emmanuel's election never having disciplined any officer or official for torture or its cover-up.


Terry Hillard - Appointed Interim Police Superintendent by retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley assuring that no vigorous examination of CPD accountability for two decades of torture will be considered.

See his record above as CPD Superintendent from 1988 - 1994.