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Chicago council approves $20M settlement in police torture lawsuits

[JURIST] The Chicago City Council signed off Wednesday on a $19.8 million agreement to settle torture allegations by four former death row inmates against the Chicago police [official website]. Labeling the allegations a "black eye," city officials said that they hoped a settlement will help to mend relations between the community and the police, who allegedly committed acts of torture under the tenure of Lt. Jon Burge in the 1970s and 80s.

The city's Law Department said in December that it planned to settle the cases [JURIST report]. The four death row inmates were pardoned in 2003 by then-Illinois Governor George Ryan [JURIST news archive]. An investigation into Chicago police torture began in 2002, when the chief criminal judge of Cook County appointed the two special prosecutors to investigate 64 reports of torture and cover-ups. In May 2006, the same judge ordered the public release of the report [JURIST report ], holding that the privacy rights of the accused officers were outweighed by the public's need to know. In 2005, several human rights groups, including the MacArthur Justice Center, asked [JURIST report] the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights [official website] to investigate the allegations. AP has more. The Chicago Tribune has local coverage.

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