LET THE REPARATIONS BEGIN: Rahm Emanuel Uses $5.5 Million Taxpayer Dollars To Gain Favor With Chicago’s Black Voters

“We do this not because it’s legally required, because it’s not,” Patton said at a hearing on the agreement. “We do this because we believe it’s the right thing to do, both for the victims and their families and for the city.”

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“This is historic,” said Mr. Coverson. “The only city in America that has given reparations and passed a reparations ordinance, and given an official apology for the violence that the police have done to citizens.”

The city of Chicago on Tuesday sought to put to rest one of its most persistent scandals, proposing a $5.5 million reparations fund for dozens of torture victims connected to former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his so-called midnight crew of rogue detectives.

The proposal, negotiated with a key plaintiff’s attorney and supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would offer free city college tuition for victims and their families, free counseling for psychological issues and substance abuse as well as other assistance to more than 50 potential victims. The city would also issue a formal apology, create a permanent memorial recognizing the victims and ensure that eighth- and 10th-grade students attending Chicago Public Schools would be taught about the Burge case and its brutal legacy, cementing the scandal’s role in city history.

rahm OBut as much as the proposal seeks to end a painful, controversial era — Emanuel said it would “close this book, the Burge book on the city’s history” — it is unlikely to stanch the flow of torture claims from victims. A Loyola University Chicago law school dean appointed by a Cook County judge has identified some 20 additional cases in which inmates may have been Burge victims. Other inmates who have made torture claims continue to fight to overturn convictions and win their freedom. And one lawsuit over the torture is pending.

Already, this stubborn scandal has cost taxpayers about $100 million in lawsuit settlements, judgments and other legal costs, according to lawyers.

“It brings it much closer to closure, especially from the city’s point of view,” said Flint Taylor, an attorney who has been pursuing the torture issue for decades and was one of the lawyers who negotiated the reparations package. “But it’s not done and over.”

But as much as the proposal seeks to end a painful, controversial era — Emanuel said it would “close this book, the Burge book on the city’s history” — it is unlikely to stanch the flow of torture claims from victims. A Loyola University Chicago law school dean appointed by a Cook County judge has identified some 20 additional cases in which inmates may have been Burge victims. Other inmates who have made torture claims continue to fight to overturn convictions and win their freedom. And one lawsuit over the torture is pending.

Already, this stubborn scandal has cost taxpayers about $100 million in lawsuit settlements, judgments and other legal costs, according to lawyers.

“It brings it much closer to closure, especially from the city’s point of view,” said Flint Taylor, an attorney who has been pursuing the torture issue for decades and was one of the lawyers who negotiated the reparations package. “But it’s not done and over.”

Burge was convicted in federal court of lying about the torture and sentenced to 41/2 years in prison. He was released in October but confined to his home until February. He still collects a police pension.

Burge did not return calls Tuesday to his home in Florida.

But John “Jack” Byrne, Burge’s former right-hand man, on Tuesday called the reparations deal a “scam perpetuated on taxpayers.”

Via: Chicago Tribune

 


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