Jon Burge

Jon Graham Burge (1947 – 2018) was an American police detective and commander in the Chicago Police Department who was accused of torturing more than 200 criminal suspects, mostly African American, between 1972 and 1991 in order to force confessions.

Through an FOIA request Medic has obtained excerpts from Jon Graham Burge’s military file.

An Army and National Guard vet, in 1968 Burge was assigned to the Ninth Military Police Company, 9th Infantry Division. He described his duties at Đồng Tâm,Vietnam as providing base and LZs security, escorting convoys,  and serving as a provost marshal investigator. Burge claimed to have no knowledge of or involvement in prisoner interrogation, brutality or torture.

Decorated, honorably discharged as a sergeant on August 25, 1969, he returned to Chicago, and began a career as a city police officer, advancing all the way to commander.

Following the shooting of several Chicago police officers in 1982, CPD detectives secured a number of confessions that helped to convict two suspects. One filed a civil suit in 1989 against Burge, other officers, and the city, for police torture and cover-up. Burge was acquitted in 1989 due to a hung jury. He was suspended from the Chicago Police Department in 1991 and fired in 1993.

In 2002, a four-year review revealed numerous indictable crimes and other improprieties, but no indictment was made against Burge or his officers, as the statute of limitations had expired. Among the numerous allegations made against Burge was torture by a “mysterious third device,” similar to one used by American’s on Vietnamese POWs.

In 2003, Governor George Ryan pardoned four of Burge’s victims who were on death row and whose convictions were based on confessions induced by torture.

In 2008, Patrick Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for Northern Illinois, charged Burge with obstruction of justice and perjury in relation to testimony in a 1989 civil suit against him for damages for alleged torture. Burge was convicted on all counts on June 28, 2010, and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in federal prison on January 21, 2011. He was released in October 2014. He died four years later.

On April 14, 2015, the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, announced the creation of a $5.5 million city fund for individuals who could prove that they were victimized by Burge.

After repeatedly invoking the 5th Amendment as a legal defense, Burge broke his silence to say he found it hard to believe that Chicago political leadership could “even contemplate giving reparations to human vermin”.

On May 6, 2015 Chicago became the first municipal government to compensate victims who have valid claims of police torture. Additionally, the city approved building a public memorial to the deceased victims and required that Chicago public students in the eighth and tenth grades learn about the Burge legacy.


sources: wikipedia, wikiwand

NY Times obiturary