Former cop who tortured victims for decades released

A former Chicago cop who tortured victims for decades throughout the 1970s and 1980s has been released from prison. Jon Burge, 66, was released into a Florida halfway house following three-and-a-half years in prison on perjury charges for lying about the torture.

Burge and fellow Chicago PD officers were said to have beaten confessions out of victims with phone books and used cattle prods to shock them in their genitals. It is alleged that Burge and his detectives tortured at least 120 black victims over a period spanning more than twenty years.

Although Burge was fired from the force in 1993, an investigation into his activities wasn’t launched by Cook County prosecutors until 2006. In 2010, they found that Burge and his detectives had tortured confessions out of many convicts. However, the statute of limitations on the crimes had expired, allowing no charges to be filed.

The Conviction

Burge, however, was convicted for lying about his involvement in the torture ring during a civil case. He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for perjury but served less than four following his recent release on October 2.

Despite the charges, Burge still receives a $4,000 a month police pension from the City of Chicago. His victims, however, have never seen restitution due to the statute of limitations expiring.

“We talk about terrorism around the world, well we had a terrorist right here in the city of Chicago for a couple of decades,” Joe Moreno said. Moreno is chief sponsor of reparations ordinance that has been proposed to the City Council. The ordinance will set aside $20 million for a compensation fund for Burge’s victims.

“Don’t bite through that bag”

Anthony Holmes, one of Burge’s earliest victims, recounted that Burge had told him, while suffocating him with a plastic bag, “Don’t bite through that bag” and also called him the “N” word. Holmes spent more than 30 years in prison after confessing during the 1973 torture to a killing that he claims he didn’t commit.

On the day of Burge’s release, Holmes spoke to reporters, saying that, “I try to hold my emotions back because I don’t want people to see me like that.… My family has been through a lot.” But he reiterated that he struggles financially, and said “I need some help.”

The fallout from Burge’s actions has resulted in more than $96 million in costs for the city. Some victims have seen settlements, but others, like Holmes, are still waiting. The almost 70-year-old man said, when commenting on Burge’s release, “He’s got to go through some of the things that we went through. At least he got a pension. We come out and we didn’t get nothing.”