Thursday, July 20, 2006

Torturers get a free pass

In case you haven't heard by now, we've finally gotten to see the much awaited report from special prosecutors on the systematic torture of suspects that was perpetrated under Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. They found evidence of torture, but let the offenders off the hook because of the statute of limitations.

Here's the Chicago Sun Times article on it:

Suspects tortured but it's too late for charges

Yes, Chicago Police tortured suspects, but it happened too long ago to charge the officers. ...

Those are among the findings laid out by special prosecutors in a long-awaited 300-page report released Wednesday. The document is the fruit of a four-year, $7 million investigation into accusations that former police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his men used electric shocks and fists to get confessions. In almost all cases, the officers were white and the victims black. ...

There's still the possibility that federal charges could be brought that have a longer statute of limitation, but based on the history of this case, I'm not holding my breath.

Maybe we could bring charges before the International Criminal Court for torture and crimes against humanity. Oops, the U.S. never signed that treaty. Go figure.

Here's some good background info on the case:

Torture allegations dog ex-police officer
By Leonora LaPeter, St. Petersburg Times

Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States
Chicago: Torture
From Human Rights Watch

The Police Torture Scandal: A Who's Who
from the Chicago Reader

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People
The Dynamics of Torture
by John Conroy
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