Thursday, December 14, 2017

Impunity for Their Crimes

As efforts to support the Death Row 10 were gaining momentum, it also became painfully clear that Burge and other officers guilty of torture enjoyed impunity for their crimes. While Burge was fired by the CPD, he retained his city-funded pension, and no other officer was terminated, let alone disciplined. Instead, many were promoted and allowed to retire with their full pensions intact.

In response to this injustice, I, as part of a group of death penalty attorneys who represented some of the Death Row 10, along with several organizers, started the Campaign to Prosecute Police Torture (CPPT). The goal of the campaign was to secure the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute Burge and others. CPPT was well aware that the statute of limitations had expired for prosecuting any crimes of torture that the officers had committed but believed that the officers could and should be held responsible for their crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice for consistently denying that they engaged in acts of torture in on-going court proceedings.

While the legal effort prevailed and Chief Judge of the Circuit Court Paul Biebel, Jr. granted the petition to appoint a special prosecutor, the campaign did not control who would be chosen as a Special Prosecutor. Two former Cook County States' Attorneys who worked under Daley at the State's Attorney's Office, Edward Egan and Robert Boyle, were selected to lead the investigation into Burge and other detectives' alleged crimes. After two years, it became apparent that their investigation was not going to lead to any indictments whatsoever.

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