Chicago to make $5.5 million in reparations to police torture victims
A prisoner behind bars (Shutterstock)

Chicago will pay $5.5 million reparations to dozens of victims of police torture in the 1970s and 1980s and their family members, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and aldermen announced on Tuesday.

The city also will provide psychological counseling, job placement aid and other services to victims of torture under disgraced former Chicago police Commander Jon Burge, according to an ordinance that is expected to be passed by the City Council in an upcoming meeting.

Chicago and Cook County have already paid about $100 million in settlements and verdicts for lawsuits related to Burge, who was fired from the police department in 1993 and later convicted of lying about the use of police torture in testimony he gave in civil lawsuits.

Burge and detectives under his command were accused of forcing confessions from black suspects by using electric shocks delivered with a homemade device, suffocation with plastic covers and mock executions.

The reparations package was developed with representatives of Burge victims, Amnesty International, the mayor's office and aldermen. More than half of the city's 50 aldermen favor additional payments to victims.

The package was reviewed on Tuesday by the city council's finance committee, and will be introduced this week to the full council.

"You will make history by passing this amended ordinance," said Joey Mogul, co-founder of Chicago Torture Justice Memorials told the City Finance Committee on Tuesday. Mogul, an attorney with the People's Law Office, which has represented Burge torture survivors, said this would be the first time a municipality paid reparations for police violence.

"There is no excuse for torture. The ends never justify the means," she said.

(Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Ted Botha)