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AlterNet: How Scores of Black Men Were Tortured Into Giving False Confessions by Chicago Police

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:57 AM
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AlterNet: How Scores of Black Men Were Tortured Into Giving False Confessions by Chicago Police
How Scores of Black Men Were Tortured Into Giving False Confessions by Chicago Police

By Jessica Pupovac, AlterNet. Posted July 23, 2008.

More than 20 years after being tortured into giving confessions by Chicago police officers, dozens of black men remain behind bars.




Michael Tillman was 20, with a 3-year-old daughter and an infant son, when he was brought into the Area 2 police station on Chicago's South Side for questioning. His mother, Jean Tillman, says that although he had gotten into some trouble with the law as a youngster, he had been on the straight-and-narrow, working as a janitor and paying his bills, since he and his girlfriend had their first child. That was July 22, 1986.

He hasn't been home since.

Tillman is one of at least 24 African-American men that the People's Law Office in Chicago claims are still serving sentences for crimes they say they confessed to only after enduring hours of torture at the hands of Chicago police officers under Commander Jon Burge between 1972 and 1992. Although 10 of Burge's victims have been pardoned or given new trials after their illegally obtained confessions were exposed, the vast majority of the 100-plus cases have yet to be reviewed by the state of Illinois. Those men have either served out their sentences, died in custody or, like Tillman, continue to live their lives behind bars, hoping that one day they will have a fair trial.

According to Tillman's 1986 trial testimony, when he arrived at the Area 2 police station in the predawn hours of July 21, 1986, Detectives Ronald Boffo and Peter Dignan took him to a second-floor interrogation room and pressed him for information about the murder of 42-year-old Betty Howard, whose body was found the day prior in the apartment building Tillman oversaw. When he told the detectives that he knew nothing about the murder, he says that Boffo and Dignan, along with three other officers, became abusive. Without ever reading him his Miranda rights, he says they handcuffed him to the wall, hit him in the face and punched him in the stomach until he vomited blood. During the course of what appeared to be three days, rotating pairs of officers brought him to the railroad tracks behind the station and held a gun to his head, suffocated him repeatedly with thick plastic bags, poured soda up his nose and forced him into Dumpsters outside of the apartment building, ordering him to search through the rubbish for a murder weapon until, according to Detective John Yucaitis, Tillman confessed to the crime.

According to Tillman's mother, she, her husband and an attorney they called for counsel were all denied access to her son during his three days of interrogation. ......(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/rights/92374/how_scores_of_blac... /




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mucifer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 08:06 AM
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1. Lots of black men were tortured into false confesseions in Chicago in the
1980s. This is part of the reason for the moritorium on the death penalty in IL.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/19/us/19cnd-chicago.html...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=55...

"Legal Affairs
Chicago Police Torture Deemed Too Old to Act On

by David Schaper

Listen Now <3 min 35 sec> add to playlist

All Things Considered, July 19, 2006 Members of the Chicago police routinely tortured suspects, predominantly black men, during the 1970s and '80s, special prosecutors say in a new report -- but the crimes are too old to file charges on.

The report follows a four-year investigation into claims that former Lt. Jon Burge or detectives under his command tortured as many as 150 people. Some victims say they were suffocated with typewriter cases, beaten, and shocked with electric devices.

Some of the people interviewed for the report claim that torture led them to confess to crimes they didn't commit. Despite Burge being fired in 1993 for abusing a suspect, none of the alleged torturers has ever been criminally charged. NPR's David Schaper reports."



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PDJane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
2. America's jails are brutal places.......
and there doesn't appear to be much of a step from that to the brutal occupation of Iraq and the abuses at Abhu Graeb and Quantanamo.
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