After years of seeking justice for individuals who were allegedly tortured by retired Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, federal authorities have arrested the 60-year-old former cop on charges that he lied and impeded court proceedings in November 2003 by providing false written answers to questions in a civil lawsuit. Filed by an alleged torture victim, the suit claimed Burge and several of his officers tortured and abused suspects in their custody, which Burge denied. The abuses date back over 20 years prior to Burge’s firing from the department in 1993.

Chicago attorneys Standish Willis, Larry Kennon and Flint Taylor sought justice for some of the victims for more than 20 years. In a telephone interview with Willis on Monday shortly after the indictment was announced that afternoon, the civil rights attorney responded to Burge’s arrest, calling it “A small victory, but we have to keep focus on the larger prize, which is complete victory for [those] tortured and their families.

“Part of the victory is getting Burge and his cohorts prosecuted,” Willis added. “Another part is getting some kind of reparation for victims and families. The final part is to get new trials for the 25 individuals still in prison.”

Burge was released on $250,000 using his Florida home as collateral and will appear before federal Judge Joan Lefkow next Monday for arraignment.

-Delores McCain