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Special prosecutors report evidence of Chicago police torture

[JURIST] Enough evidence existed to support the prosecution of three Chicago police officers accused of torturing black suspects between 1971 and 1992, according to a report released Wednesday by special prosecutors Robert D. Boyle and Edward J. Egan. The report found that in at least three cases enough evidence existed to establish guilt [conclusions, PDF] of the officers involved beyond a reasonable doubt, but investigators noted that "the statute of limitations would bar any prosecution of any offenses our investigation has disclosed." At least one of the alleged torture incidents led to the 1991 dismissal of Lt. Jon Burge [Chicago Tribune profile], who is alleged to have authorized torture practices. Burge is a key defendant in several civil lawsuits against the city of Chicago, including one filed by the MacArthur Justice Center [case materials] seeking restitution for a man who alleges he was tortured by detectives under the command of Burge, and was then wrongfully convicted of murder. The report also indicates that there is sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that a member of the State Attorney's Office "was guilty of a 'dereliction of duty' and did not act in good faith in the investigation" of torture allegations.

The investigation began in 2002, when the Chief Criminal Judge of Cook County appointed the two special prosecutors [Chicago Sun-Times report] to investigate 64 reports of torture and cover-ups. In May, the same judge ordered the public release of the report [AP report], holding that the privacy rights of the accused officers are outweighed by the public's need to know. Last year, several human rights groups, including the MacArthur Center, asked [JURIST report] the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights [official website] to investigate the allegations. AP has more.

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