Police misconduct lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that Chicago taxpayers will spend over $12 million to compensate two more victims of police torture in connection with former Area 2 Commander Jon Burge. This settlement brings the amount paid to Burge’s victims by the city to an astonishing $95.5 million.
The two men, Marvin Reeves and Ronald Kitchen, will each receive $6.15 after spending over twenty years in prison for crimes they did not commit. The murders they were charged with took place in 1988, at the height of Jon Burge and the Midnight Crew’s systematic torture of African Americans. They were released from prison in 2009 when their convictions were overturned. Kitchen requested that the judge call former Mayor Richard M. Daley to testify in court regarding what exactly he knew about Jon Burge’s practices, however, the settlement terms kept Daley out of the hot seat.
This is actually the third time under current Mayor Rahm Emanuel that Daley has been spared from testifying under oath regarding allegations that he knowingly failed to investigate Burge and the claims of police torture surrounding him. Many believe that Daley purposefully participated in a large cover-up to protect the image of the CPD and himself. Daley was the Cook County state’s attorney when prosecutors were pushing for the death penalty in Kitchen’s and other tortured men’s cases.
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In his filing, Kitchen stated that Daley should not be permitted to indefinitely evade the questions regarding his knowledge about the torture and wrongful imprisonment of hundreds of African American men. About two years ago a federal judge specifically asked why the city had not yet settled Kitchen’s lawsuit, given Burge’s 2010 conviction.
Burge is currently incarcerated for obstruction of justice and perjury for lying under oath during a civil trial. He lied about knowing about the torture that went on in Area 2 when he was commander. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison.
Kitchen, on the other hand, spent 21 years in prison – 13 of them on death row – for the murder of two women and three children, which he was tortured into confessing to. Kitchen was arrested after a jailhouse informant falsely tipped the CPD off. He was questioned for 16 hours at Area 2, where he says he was beaten with a phone book, telephone, and fists, had his genitals repeatedly bashed with a nightstick, denied food and sleep, and ultimately required emergency medical treatment.
Both Kitchen and Reeves were sentenced in connection to the 1988 murder (the jailhouse informant named Reeves falsely as well), and were released on the same day in 2009, hours after prosecutors dropped all charges against them. This was influenced by phone records which revealed that the jailhouse informant was less than reliable. Prosecutors also failed to reveal that the man had been released from prison early in exchange for his “cooperation.”
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The Illinois Torture Inquiry Relief Commission has identified at least 100 currently incarcerated men who claim that they were subject to the same police torture and were wrongfully imprisoned. If their claims are found credible, these men will be able to defend their innocence in city evidentiary hearings. In May 2013, another ten investigations were launched, and many believe they can consolidate all claims of torture by Burge’s Midnight Crew into a class-action. Several Chicago officials, including former CPD Superintendent Richard Brzeczek and former Governor James Thompson, have very publicly voiced their support for such measures.
One of the men with credible claims of torture and who will hopefully be released from prison soon is Anthony Jakes, who was tortured and convicted in 1992 when he was 15 years old. He, like Kitchen, was interrogated for 16 hours, during which time he was beaten, slapped, punched and kicked. Burge’s detectives even told him, a freshman in high school at the time, that the Latin Kings knew about him and were going to jump him if he did not confess to the crime.
Jakes is now 36 years old and has spent the last 21 years in prison for that crime, a murder and armed robbery, for which there was no eyewitnesses and no physical evidence other than the terrified, coerced confession of a boy. There are dozens of other men currently serving life sentence in prison based on nothing, literally nothing, other than a confession coerced by the Midnight Crew.
Police brutality lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience advocating on behalf of those abused and mistreated by rogue police officers. If you or a loved one was seriously injured, killed or wrongfully convicted as a result of police misconduct, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to significant compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.