Sunday, May 08, 2016

Human Rights and social justice: the meaning and reality of torture

In the city of Chicago, Jon Burge and his team of detectives tortured over 110 Black men and women at Chicago police headquarters from 1972 to 1991.

Instead of investigating these crimes, the City of Chicago opted for covering it up, spending:

  • 9,968,191 taxpayer dollars defending Jon Burge against claims of police torture,
  • 9,880,073 taxpayer dollars spent on the legal cases related to the Burge torture scandal, and
  • 468,000 Taxpayer dollars spent for Burge’s pension since he was terminated from the department for his acts of torture and abuse.
  • And millions more settling and defending civil and criminal cases linked to these events.

110 victims of torture, on the other hand, have had their lives profoundly changed. Some served time or lost their lives without cause, including

  • 12 torture survivors were sentenced to death,
  • 5 torture survivors were sentenced to death but were later exonerated, and
  • 11 torture survivors were exonerated.

One of these survivors, Darrell Cannon was tortured on November 2, 1983 by White detectives working under the supervision of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. He confessed, under torture, to being an accomplice to a murder. The confession led to his wrongful conviction for murder and twenty-four years of incarceration. He is now traveling the country reminding people, that torture is not a theory, an abstract idea, an imagined threat... It is real. We are grateful that he has the courage to talk about this cruel crime, of which he was a victim. He is here at the University of Iowa today to share his experience with us. 

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