CHICAGO (CBS) – Disgraced former Police Lt. Jon Burge will get to keep his nearly $3,100-a-month pension, a sharply divided panel decided on Thursday.
The Chicago Police pension board split 4-4 on whether to allow Burge, who was convicted for lying about police torture under his watch, to continue receiving the payouts.
Five votes were needed to revoke the pension. The board decided that Burge’s conviction was not directly related to his work as a police officer.
The four board members who voted in Burge’s favor are current or former cops elected by Chicago police officers: Kenneth Hauser, Michael Lazzaro, James Maloney, and Michael Shields. The four who voted against Burge were appointed by Mayor Richard Daley: Michael Conway, Steven Lux, Stephanie Neely and Gene Saffold.
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According to the state’s pension code, benefits must be denied “to any person who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with his or her service as a police officer.”
G. Flint Taylor, the Chicago lawyer who has represented Burge’s alleged victims, says it’s outrageous.
“Clearly he was acting as a cop; the city was defending him as a cop,” he said.
The Fraternal Order of Police’s general counsel disagreed, saying the board decision was consistent with the law.
“(Burge’s) service was a police officer was over by the time he did the acts for which he was later convicted,” Thomas Pleines told CBS 2′s Dana Kozlov.
Burge was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison last week for lying about the torture of suspects.
Burge’s pension board supporters contended that the charges, and conviction, in the case came after Burge left the force and should not affect his pension.
Since he was fired from the Chicago Police Department in 1993, Burge’s name has become synonymous with police brutality in Chicago.
Dozens of suspects have accused Burge and the detectives under his command of shocking them with a homemade electrical device, suffocating them with typewriter bags, putting guns to their head and playing Russian roulette — all to force them to confess to murders they didn’t commit.