Updated 04/14/2015 – 1:53 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has thrown his support behind a proposal to provide $5.5 million in reparations to dozens of victims of police torture at the hands of former police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his detectives, in an effort to provide closure on a scandal that has plagued the city for decades.
The agreement on a reparations ordinance came as aldermen held the first public hearing on a proposed financial restitution fund for torture victims. A group of aldermen had been seeking a fund of $20 million in reparations for torture victims and their families.
Corporation Counsel Steve Patton said the agreement worked out between the Emanuel administration and advocates for torture victims would provide $5.5 million for torture victims who cannot sue for damages, because the statute of limitations on their allegations has expired.
The fund will provide up to $100,000 in restitution for people with credible claims of torture by Burge and his detectives. An independent arbitrator would make the final decision on all disputed claims. Only victims that have not received a previous settlement from the city will receive reparations from the fund.
In addition to the financial reparations, the ordinance would call for the city to apologize to torture victims, and provide a number of services – including free job training and tuition at the City Colleges of Chicago for Burge victims, their immediate families, and their grandchildren. The city will also provide psychological, family, substance abuse, and other counseling for victims and their families.
“If Burge victims, their immediate family members, or their grandchildren wish to pursue a degree from the City Colleges of Chicago, they will be able to do so for free,” Patton said.