CHICAGO (CBS) — Aldermen have approved a deal to provide $5.5 million in reparations to police torture victims, a step Mayor Rahm Emanuel said was an “essential step in righting a wrong.”
“This stain cannot be removed from our city’s history but it can be used as a lesson of what not to do,” Emanuel said at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
The council voted 42-0 in favor of the reparations package, which includes a $5.5 million fund to pay restitution of up to $100,000 each to people with credible claims of torture by disgraced police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his detectives. The package also includes a number of services for torture victims and their families – including free job training and tuition at the City Colleges of Chicago; and psychological, family, substance abuse, and other counseling.
An independent arbitrator would make the final decision on all disputed torture claims. Only victims that have not received a previous settlement from the city will receive reparations from the fund.
Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st) said it’s the least the city can do for torture victims.
“They may have suffered physically years ago, but mentally – and physically, quite frankly – they still suffer today, and this council’s moving forward to try to do what we can to assist these men,” he said.