Jon Burge Gets 54-Month Prison Sentence

January 21, 2011

Jon Burge Guilty of Torture

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.

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.



Burge Torture Survivor Left with “A Growing, Burning Feeling”

January 20, 2011

By Katherine Randall
Communications Coordinator, JCUA

Anthony Holmes has trouble sleeping at night. He has nightmares and often wakes up in a cold sweat. Holmes spent 30 years in prison for a murder he said he didn’t commit. And though Holmes has physically left prison, his mind remains trapped in thoughts of the torture he endured at the hands of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.

“Jon Burge shocked me and suffocated me and forced me to admit to a murder I didn’t do,” said Holmes. “He tried to kill me. It leaves a growing, burning feeling. I have nightmares and see myself falling into a deep hole and I have no one to get me out.”

Police torture victims (left to right) Victor Saffold, Mark clements, Anthony Holmes and Darrell Cannon. Photo taken by Brian Jackson of the Sun-Times

Holmes was one of several witnesses to testify at Burge’s Jan. 20 sentencing hearing. And though the prosecutors are pushing for a sentence of at least 30 years, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow only extended Burge’s suggested sentence of 15 to 21 months in prison to 21 to 27 months.

“That’s a slap in the face to everybody that was in that station house being tortured by Burge,” said Dickie Gaines, a longtime Chicago community activist and friend to several Burge torture survivors. “I think his sentence should be a maximum sentence,” he said.

Zakiyyah Muhammad, another community activist close to several of the torture victims, said she would be okay with Burge’s light sentence under one condition.

“If it can be a life of hell and torture then it can be okay because that’s what Burge put hundreds of men and women through,” she said.

Melvin Jones, another torture survivor who testified at Burge’s hearing, said he was still going through such a life of hell and torture.

“It comes back in my everyday life. It comes back in my dreams. It comes back every day I walk this earth,” said Jones.

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