CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2011 — After two days of testimony from police torture victims and from the defendant himself, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow today sentenced former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge to 4-1/2 years in prison. That’s double the federal sentencing guidelines.
Lefkow also added three years of probation, plus alcohol treatment.
Prosecutors had been seeking more than 30 years in prison. Defense attorneys were pushing for only two years.
Burge was convicted of perjury in a series of police torture cases that spanned many years. JCUA, the Illinois Coalition Against Torture and numerous other groups have been focusing attention on Burge and his tactics for more than 10 years.
- Chicago Tribune coverage
- Chicago Sun-Times coverage
- JCUA’s Katherine Randall tells the story of torture survivors who testified at the sentencing hearing
Taped by JCUA outside of yesterday’s sentencing hearing (before the sentence was announced), Joey Mogul, an advocate with the People’s Law Office said: “When we’re thinking about the ultimate sentence that Burge received, we have to remember the fact that he’s not being prosecuted for the actual crimes of torture he committed, and that’s because the statute of limitations has expired. And the reality of that, and the blame for that is due to Mayor Daley, who was the Cook County State’s Attorney back in 1981 through 1988.”
“People lose sight of what happened here in this city—the fact that over 100 African-American men and women were systematically tortured. They were abused. They were aggrieved in a way that the international world has universally condemned. And it was done with the condonment of the highest officials here in the city.”
Police torture was the topic of an event co-sponsored by JCUA last month for International Human Rights Day.