Friday, May 19, would have been Malcolm X’s 81st birthday. In what many in the black community referred to as a birthday gift, Judge Paul Biebel made his decision to release the special prosecutors report. After four years and over $5 million spent, finally the citizens of Chicago will know what the four-year-long report contains.
“This is an emotional issue, so listen carefully. The court has read and reviewed transcripts and based on my careful review?”and I’m fully aware of the substantial concerns?”I will release the report,” stated Judge Biebel, who issued his 19-page opinion based on the findings of the special prosecutors he appointed, Edward Egan and Robert Boyle. The report however, will not be seen until the first week in June. Judge Biebel ordered all attorneys involved back to court on June 2, by which time, hopefully, the report will be released.
Ironically, The UN Committee Against Torture ruled on the same day that the U.S. government and the City of Chicago have violated the international Convention Against Torture. The UN report followed two days of hearings in Geneva, Switzerland on May 5-6. According to the report, the Burge torture cases included 192 African Americans who were allegedly tortured over 20 years by former commander Jon Burge and detectives under his command at the Chicago Police Department.
Even though there is monumental evidence that Burge and his officers tortured African Americans we still do not know if anyone will ever be indicted and sent to jail. Once again activists marched outside the courthouse at 26th & California on Friday, demanding justice. Several family members of the victims were present for the march and the court hearing.
There have been many persons involved in keeping this issue on the front burner. Attorneys Stan Willis, Lawrence Kennon, Flint Taylor, Locke Bowman and petitioners such as Mariel Johnson and Mary Flowers have been fighting the Jon Burge issue for many years.
In Judge Biebel’s conclusion he writes: “This is the culmination of a four-year investigation authorized by this Court to look into decades-old allegations of police misconduct against certain officers under the direction of Jon Burge in Detective Areas 2 and 3 of the Chicago Police Department. This Court agrees with the language used by the Special Prosecutor in his May 8, 2006 filing and similarly notes that this investigation was ordered because of an ‘open sore’ on the civic body of the City of Chicago which has festered for many years. The Court finds the interests of justice require the full publishing of the Special Prosecutor’s Report including certain materials relating to the Grand Jury referred to above.
“The Court carefully balanced the privacy rights of the objecting police officers against the right of the public to fully know the Report’s contents. This Court opts on the side of public disclosure and finds the public’s right to be informed of the results of this exhaustive investigation outweighs the privacy rights of the individual officers. Consequently, this Court grants the following relief sought by the Special State’s Attorney:
1) Leave to file a Report to this Court, consistent with this Court’s present ruling, containing the results of the Special State’s Attorney’s investigation and an order on the Clerk of the Court and the Special State’s Attorney’s office to make the Report available to the public;
2) An order removing the seal from all pleadings previously filed by the Special State’s Attorney and attorneys representing certain individuals in proceedings before this Court; and
3) An order granting the Special State’s Attorney leave to include in his report certain excerpts of Grand Jury testimony given by a certain individual who does not oppose disclosure.” (Source: published May 19, 2006: Memorandum Opinion and Order)