Reporting Nancy Harty
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago will pay millions to two victims of former police Cmdr. Jon Burge’s torture, while former Mayor Richard M. Daley will not have to testify in the cases.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports, the Chicago Tribune says the City Council Finance Committee approved over $7 million in settlements with two men who collectively spent nearly 50 years in prison for crimes they say they confessed to after torture by police detectives at Burge’s direction.
The settlements must be approved by the full City Council at its meeting on Wednesday.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports
One of the men, Michael Tillman, served more than 23 years behind bars for the 1986 murder and rape of a South Side woman, and he says he was beaten, hit with a telephone book, and had his head covered with a plastic bag by the detectives, the Tribune reported. His conviction was tossed in 2010.
The other man, David Fauntleroy, spent 25 years in prison for a 1983 murder and also said he was tortured, the newspaper reported. His conviction was also tossed.
Flint Taylor, an attorney for Tillman, expressed disappointment at the fact that Daley will not have to testify, the newspaper reported.
In a statement quoted by both the Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, Tillman himself said in part, “I am sorry that Mayor Daley will not be questioned in my case, but that does not change the fact that he did me and my family wrong.”
Taylor tells the Sun-Times that Daley, who was serving as Cook County State’s Attorney during many of the Burge torture cases, remains a central figure in the scandal and a potential witness in many future torture cases.
At the time, Taylor told WBBM Newsradio: “We want to find out from him and question him in detail about his knowledge of the police torture scandal starting in 1982 when he was the state’s attorney and we want to question him about his specific knowledge of the Michael Tillman case and his approval of the death penalty in Michael Tillman’s case.”
Last year, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled that Daley should remain as a defendant in Tillman’s lawsuit because the immunity did not extend to his time as mayor.
In her 14-page ruling in November, Pallmeyer wrote that Tillman’s “allegations sufficiently support the allegation that Daley participated in a conspiracy to conceal evidence of police torture through his public statements as Mayor, and the internal actions he took (or failed to take) in that role.”
Burge was convicted of perjury last year for lying about torturing prisoners into making confessions. He was sentenced in January to 4 1/2 years in prison, and reported to a federal penitentiary in Raleigh, N.C., a year ago.
Since Burge was fired from the Police Department in 1993, his name has become synonymous with police brutality in Chicago.
Dozens of suspects accused Burge and the detectives under their 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.