March 5th, 2015.
Chicago’s Unlawful Police Force
There is a long and well documented history of torture and brutality in the Chicago Police Department.
“In 2014 alone, payouts to victims of Chicago police misconduct cost taxpayers a total of $54.2m, according to a tally from the Chicago Reporter. “(Source)
In 2010 a former CPD Commander John Burge was sentenced to four and a half years prison after it was discovered that he had been using torture to extract confessions from detainees between 1972 and 1991.
”Victims pursuing civil-rights litigation against Jon Burge – the Chicago police commander whose torture tactics, including electrocution and beating suspects with phone books, became notorious in his reign beginning in the 1970s – have totaled at least $64m in judgments and settlements.
Most police-misconduct payouts come through settlements, which allow the Chicago police department to withhold admitting that wrongdoing actually occurred”
“Burge is in a Florida halfway house after serving more than three years in federal prison for lying about torture allegations. Legal settlements and fees related to his alleged torture from 1972 to 1991 have cost the city and Cook County nearly $96 million. “
The Guardian story is a good story for which they deserve congratulation, and which the (completely) controlled media deserve condemnation for ignoring. The story was not a beat up but it shone a light on what is only one example of the unlawful and unconstitutional conduct by the Chicago Police Force. Denial of basic rights and violent brutality are a key part of the way the Chicago PD has operated across the board for decades apparently.
“Late last year, following decades of profound systematic abuse, institutional racism and the repeated denial of civil rights, Chicago citizens asked the United Nations to classify what their notoriously brutal police force does to them, in an American city, as a violation of international anti-torture statutes.
Contained within an appeal to the UN Committee Against Torture – the same watchdog that has looked into Guantanamo Bay and the police killing in Ferguson, Missouri – were a litany of tales describing highly damaging abuse and injustice, completely out of step with alleged crimes.”
“One was the story of a 22-year-old black man, who was beaten so badly when Chicago police found him smoking marijuana that he awoke from consciousness in Cook County jail with “22 stitches in my tongue, two facial fractures, bruised ribs, scrapes all over my body … an orbital fracture, a nasal fracture”.Cannon, 65, spent more than 24 years in prison for murder after making a confession he maintains Burge coerced by putting a gun in his mouth and shocking his genitals. While behind bars after his 1984 conviction, Cannon accepted a $3,000 settlement for his lawsuit alleging torture.”
“Late last week, after multiple Chicago lawyers came forward to the Guardian with allegations of suspects being interrogated without public notice or legal counsel at a warehouse known as Homan Square, more young black men from Chicago began telling their stories of being abused, off the books, inside the facility.”
“A monopoly and application of the use of illicit violence is the modus vivendi of the Chicago police department and of governance in Chicago,” Nesbitt said.
“Violence and the use of illicit violence versus people of color, particularly blacks and Latinos, is as routine in Chicago as traffic lights.”
“Even the torture cases, they extend beyond Jon Burge, they extend beyond Homan Square. We’ve had people in the alliance family who’ve been tortured by other offices, and there are other cases of police torture in which officers, when they’re finally brought up on the stand, they just plead the fifth,” one academic who observed the case stated.
(As it happened, Burge, the notorious police torturer, himself pleaded the fifth, exercising his constitutional right against self-incrimination, during a February deposition. He was released from house arrest last month after being convicted to four and a half years on a perjury charge.)”
“Chicago’s police abuse isn’t just physical. Few in Chicago police custody upon arrest get access to lawyers, even outside Homan Square – something the Guardian reported in its original Homan Square investigation.
Figures obtained by Chicago’s First Defense Legal Aid under a freedom-of-information request found that in 2013, lawyers were able to visit clients in police custody citywide for only 302 out of 143,398 arrestees – a rate of 0.2%. These statistics reveal a very different picture from the portrayal in the Chicago police “fact sheet” which claims that “an individual who wishes to consult a lawyer will not be interrogated until they have an opportunity to do so”.
Eliza Solowiej, First Defense Legal Aid’s executive director, stated on Monday: “99.8% of people are alone with police and prosecutors in any CPD facility. If Homan is no different as of two days ago, that’s not something to brag about.”
Chicago’s reputation for corruption is no secret..
“Robert Grant, head of the FBI’s Chicago office, offered a succinct analysis “If [Illinois] isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States,” he said, “it is certainly one hell of a competitor.”
“Given the abundance and variety of political scandals in the state, it’s hard to disagree. Over the past 40 years, about 1,500 people—including 30 Chicago aldermen—have been convicted for bribery, extortion, embezzlement, tax fraud, and other forms of corruption, according to Dick Simpson, head of the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Three former Illinois governors have gone to prison,”
Rahm Emanuel the 55th Mayor of Chicago, “denied abuse at Homan Square.In his only public comments on the issue, Emanuel said it was “not true” that the police maintain a facility lawyers have compared to a CIA “black site”. On Monday, at an event titled “Reparations Not Black Sites” in downtown Chicago, demonstrators continued to push Emanuel and the city to take up an ordinance that would include further payments to victims under Burge as well as a formal apology from the city, community centers and a requirement for Chicago public schools to teach the history of police abuse in the city.”
The former Obama staffer and dual US Israeli citizen is a very interesting individual, and some very interesting things have happened in Chicago in the time that he has been Mayor but the problem with the Chicago police clearly runs far deeper than the identity of the current Mayor although part of the problem in Chicago seems to derive from chronic widespread public corruption across politics as well as within Law enforcement.
An issue this story seems to highlight.
“Executives at investment firms that manage Chicago pension funds have since 2011 poured more than $600,000 in contributions into Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s campaign operation and political action committees (PACs) that support him, according to documents reviewed by International Business Times. These contributions appear to flout federal rules banning companies that manage pension funds from financing the campaigns of officials with authority over pension systems, say legal experts.”
“The contributions also potentially conflict with an executive order Emanuel himself signed in 2011 prohibiting city contractors and subcontractors from making campaign donations to city officials.”
“Emanuel, a Democrat, was elected Chicago mayor three years ago with a substantial boost from financial services executives. Since 2011, at least 31 executives at firms that harvest fees by managing city pension funds have contributed to his campaign and associated PACs. That list of donors includes Kelly Welsh, a Northern Trust executive who was recently appointed by President Obama to the top legal position in the U.S. Commerce Department.”
A Mixture of Luck, Class and Race.
It appears that many police in the United States perceive their role as to protect the rich from the poor. Or really to suppress the poor on behalf of the rich.
I have noticed police in the US commit a number of terrible violations against any kind of poor person who comes into their path. If the person is also from an Afro or Chicano background it is always worse. But it is not about race in particular although it can seem that way.
Protests against the New World Order police state should never miss the point and see the problem with the police as being merely racism. If you make these issues divisive along racial lines where the white people start lining up behind the white person and the black people line up behind the black person, you will never get anywhere nor understand the true nature of the problem.
This police criminality is directed more often at Afro Americans but it happens to anyone and you need to approach an issue like this from as broad a position as possible. The whole racial divide is the classic “get out of jail” card of the US elites, it is chaff they throw so that people lose their way and miss the target. There are plenty of African-American members of the elite and there are many people across all groups that oppose the police state. The more united the opposition across racial and religious lines, the more powerful and successful it will be.
Across the United States police draw their guns too early and too often. They have an unnecessarily adversarial approach to people. They no longer fire their weapons only in preservation of life situations, they fire their weapons whenever they feel like it. The entire doctrine of policing that has been promoted in the USA for decades is obviously idiotic, counterproductive and designed to serve only the prison industrial complex and the police state while the real criminals are never touched.
There are apparently hundreds of thousands of police across the United States whose entire workload consists of making pointless “public order’ arrests of penny ante dime bag drug dealers while never ever wondering where it all comes from and who brings it in?
These are after all questions with “unhappy answers” as it is clear that the drug trade is one of the CIA and cohorts core businesses for which they have been repeatedly busted but never punished. From Vietnam they were busted with the heroin.
In central America they were all over the cocaine in the 1980s and were completely busted a dozen different ways bringing in the cocaine through all those Southern Airports with all those Bush crime family agents and pilots.
Including Barry Seal, murdered by a Colombian drug cartel on the orders of the US Vice President of the day, George HW Bush. Former CIA pilot Eugene “Chip” Tatum offers absolutely rock solid evidence of the cocaine flights he made, he includes the flight logs, with the dates and all the other details, the way the drugs were disguised as medical supplies, the precise amounts of the drug, with hundreds of kilograms being trafficked into the USA at a time.
The same process has clearly been repeated in Afghanistan with the heroin processed and flown to a number of well-known distribution points across the world. The drug war and the terror war are revealed as the twins of farce each utilised by organised crime for profit and social control. The police across the West have been taken for total mugs for decades, at best.