Torture in Chicago under Jon Burge
Chicago--A panel discussion on "Torture in Chicago: The Burge Case" was held at Roosevelt University. It drew necessary connections between the racist police brutality that has existed in Chicago and the direct relation it has to imperialist wars abroad.
John Conroy, a Chicago Reader reporter who has covered the Burge case, described Burge's background in high school ROTC, how he became involved in torture in the army and his record of torture while in the Chicago Police Department. The number of his torture victims stands at 108. Twenty five men remain in prison on the basis of questionable confessions.
The city admitted torture had occurred by 1994, but a special prosecutor wasn't appointed until 2002. In 2006, the prosecutor concluded that although torture had occurred the statute of limitations had passed. In 2008 a Federal indictment was issued by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Burge continues to receive full pension benefits.
Darrell Cannon described his experiences as a victim of torture: "I was tortured 24 years ago, 1983. A group of Detectives kicked in my front door. They said, 'We have scientific way of interrogating N----s.' They took me to an isolated area near the Wisconsin Steel Mill, drove the police car into a big pipe while another car blocked the entrance. First they tried to hang me from my arms while my hands were cuffed behind my back. They couldn't do it. Then they took a shotgun--we were in a rural area, he said, 'No one can see or hear you.' He put the shotgun in my mouth and said, 'Go ahead, blow that N----'s head off.'
"They took me to the side of the car, put the gun to the side of my head. Then put me in the car, pulled my pants and shorts down, made me lay down and put the cattle prod to my genitals. They kept doing this. To me it was like eternity. So barbaric. They tried to step on my feet to keep me from kicking. All three enjoyed everything they did. Not one of them looked like they should maybe slow down. My name was not Darrell Cannon, it was N----, N----, N----, N----. They enjoyed it so much they lost track of time, kept at it past their quitting time.
"You would say anything to stop the torture. Even if you weren't guilty, you became guilty. Today I feel just as bitter as I did in 1983. People ask if I hate the detectives that tortured me? Yes, I do! I was locked up for 24 years, I lost my Mother, Father--all my family members, I was never allowed to see them one more time. The system tried to drive me crazy. The last nine years I was in Tamms Supermax. Everything you do, you do by yourself. Having lost all my family to the Death Angels, and not seeing them one last time, I live with that every day and that fuels my hatred of these detectives. I have a reason to have nothing but hatred.
"But I wouldn't allow that torture to turn into anything violent. You can't say you 'serve and protect,' when you torture. I channel my hatred by asking you to get involved. I refuse not to speak up.
"They didn't release me even after all the charges were dropped as the parole board stepped in and it took an additional three years of struggle. It happened April 30th. Today is my anniversary of being home. If you don't stay the course you won't get no justice."
Published by News and Letters Committees