(CHICAGO) — The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved $5.5 million in reparations to victims of the city’s former Police Commander Jon Burge, who allegedly tortured dozens of men.
Dozens of men claim to have been tortured between 1972 and 1991 by Burge. Under his command, suspects were allegedly tortured in order to gain confessions by police, including tactics such as electric shocks, beatings with telephone books and mock executions.
“Jon Burge’s actions are a disgrace — to Chicago, to the hard-working men and women of the police department, and most importantly to those he was sworn to protect,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Wednesday. “Today, we stand together as a city to try and right those wrongs, and to bring this dark chapter of Chicago’s history to a close.”
Emanuel offered the first apology to Burge’s victims on behalf of the city of Chicago in September 2013.
The reparations package approved Wednesday includes public recognition of the torture, including a formal City Council apology, the creation of a public memorial and curricula about the case in both eighth- and tenth-grade Chicago Public Schools classes. In addition to the $5.5 million fund to provide financial reparations to those with credible claims of having been tortured by Burge, the city will also provide services including City College tuition and job training, as well as psychological, family, substance abuse and other counseling services to victims and their families.
Alderman Joe Moreno called it “an incredulous stain on the city of Chicago that we’re helping to wipe away today.”
“I don’t think we’ll ever get it completely gone but we’ve moved a huge step forward,” Moreno added.
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