The purpose of Tuesday’s press conference at Northwestern Law School, 750 Lake Shore Drive, was to publicize a critique of last July’s Burge Report, which found the investigation to be unfairly conducted. The report titled, “The Failure of Special Prosecutors Edward J. Egan and Robert D. Boyle To Fairly Investigate Police Torture in Chicago,” resulted from dissatisfaction over the 2006 Burge Report, which cost $7 million.
Over 200 individuals and organizations have endorsed this nine-month review.
Locke Bowman of the MacArthur Justice Center was joined by Flint Taylor, People’s Law Office; Kurt Feuer, professor, DePaul College of Law; Audrea Lyon; Mary Powers of Citizens Alert; and Steven Saltzman and Robert Warden of the Northwestern University School of Law.
In his opening statement, Bowman said, “Today is the fifth anniversary of the appointment of Edward Egan and Robert Boyle as special prosecutors investigating torture at Area 2 police headquarters. All of us are intimately familiar with the record of torture at Area 2. We have deep personal concern that victims of torture be compensated and redressed, that the perpetrators of torture be appropriately punished, that the process that led to the torture and resulted in its cover-up over many years be exposed to public light. When we examined and read the report that Edward Egan and Robert Boyle had completed some nine months ago, we were gravely disappointed.
“This report is shallow, it is insufficient-the report failed to accomplish the purposes for which the special prosecutor was appointed. There are a number of failures and flaws in the report, and today we are issuing our own report. We set out in detail and with specificity the reason why Robert Egan and Bob Boyle failed in their task. Number one, there were no criminal charges announced of any of the perpetrators of torture at Area 2, despite the fact that many of the torturers, including Jon Burge himself, had committed acts of perjury, acts of obstruction of justice within the statue of limitations, that could have been and should have been the subject of prosecution.
“Number two, the report failed fundamentally to come to terms with the reality that the torture that occurred in 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s at Area 2 was covered up and was allowed to continue because of the failures of those in responsibility to come to terms with information-that they had-that the torture was occurring. I am referring particularly to Mayor Daley, then state’s attorney of Cook County who was told about the torture of Andrew Wilson and on whose watch some 50 African-American citizens were tortured and prosecuted based on confessions that came about through torture.
“Number three, the report fails at any point to appreciate that the torture at Area 2 was systemic, it was repeated, it was consistently involving the same types of methods, and it happened over and over again. It was racist in nature-these were white police officers brutalizing African-American citizens of Chicago. It was torture as defined under International Law.
“Number four, this report reveals, unfortunately a characteristic pro-prosecution bias. The special prosecutor goes to great lengths to handle, with kid gloves, Mayor Daley and Richard Devine (current state’s attorney) while at the same time he questioned, and in some instances belittled and insensitively treated, individuals who were the victims of torture.
“This report was not the product the citizens of Cook County had a right to expect. We have sent our report to the U.S. Attorney’s office and have asked Patrick Fitzgerald in a letter to address our concerns. The federal government has the authority to prosecute the perjury and the obstruction of justice that Egan and Boyle failed to address. We call upon and ask the U.S. Attorney to conduct the proper investigation and persue the appropriate criminal charges.
“Copies were sent to members of Chicago City Council, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Cong. Luis Gutierrez, Cong. Jesse Jackson, Jr., Cong. John Conyers, Cong. Jan Schakowsky and U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald.”
One of the torture victims present, Madison Hobley, was asked to recap his ordeal.
“I spent 16 years on Illinois’ death row for a crime I didn’t commit,” Hobley said. “Governor Ryan pardoned me back in 2003. I’m a victim of torture. I was taken to 111th station. They threw down pictures of my wife, of my son, who I had lost in a fire. I was called nigger, punched and kicked, thumbs pressed into my neck. I was eventually transferred to 11th & State, and they took me into a utility room. There they handcuffed me behind my back, one officer held me while another kicked and punched me. Eventually one of them put a typewriter cover over my head and suffocated me until I passed out. From the very beginning, I was tortured and physically abused and verbally abused. My name was ‘nigger’ from the very start. I was told by one of the cops that he didn’t like niggers, that he hated them. He framed me and I served 16 years on death row. (Four officers claimed Hobley admitted setting a fire that claimed the lives of his wife, infant son, and five other persons early the morning of Jan. 6, 1987, at an apartment building on the 1100 block of E. 82nd Street in Chicago.)
Flint Taylor said, “We fully intend to have this brought before the City Council. Burge and all of these men continue to get pensions. Their lawyers have been paid $8 million to defend them in these indefensible cases where the city has admitted there was torture. Not only have they not compensated the victims who stand defenseless [against] this torture, but they have backed out of the settlement to Madison and two other victims, whom they finally, on the eve of election, reluctantly decided to compensate.