Reporting Craig Dellimore
CHICAGO (WBBM) — Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis says he’s embarrassed by the police pension board decision allowing former Cmdr. Jon Burge to keep his pension.
Weis said the board’s 4-4 vote sends the wrong message, especially to the African American community.
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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. Burge was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison last week for lying about the torture of suspects under his watch.
Weis said the pension board seems to have overlooked some key history in the case.
“You had Burge arguing that he should be defended by the city and by the union because his actions took place when he was a police officer,” Weis said.
“Now the pension board seems to have overlooked that … and says well this stuff took place after the fact and had nothing to do with his service has a police officer.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Weis is the guest on “At Issue” on Newsradio 780 on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.