|Bianca Ortega |||May 07, 2015 05:31 AM EDT|
Chicago has on Wednesday approved a US$5.5-million compensation for survivors of police brutality and torture under the hands of former police commander Jon Burge's group, in a bid to end a dark chapter in its past.
The approved amount will go to survivors of police brutality --- most of them African Americans --- which ran from the 1970s to 80s under Jon Burge's regime. This landmark package, which the Chicago city council voted for, will see US$100,000 awarded to living survivors confirmed to have suffered torture under police custody, according to the Guardian.
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This is the first compensation of its kind to be approved in America. It was unanimously passed by the Chicago city council, the report added.
The said package will also make the survivors of police brutality eligible for a public memorial and counseling. It also includes free tuition fees in city colleges for the victims themselves and their immediate families.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained that the move was done in an effort to close "this dark chapter of Chicago's history." He also denounced Jon Burge's despicable actions and role in police brutality as a disgrace to society.
"To the victims, to the families, to the entire city: this is another step, but an essential step in righting a wrong - removing a stain on the reputation of this great city," Mayor Emanuel said.
Jon Burge's acts of disgrace, which ran from 1972 to 1991, saw over 100 African Americans tortured at the hands of police. The systematic police brutality included electric shocks, mock executions, burns, and other similar acts --- all just to force the prisoners to confess.
The former police commander's group of rogue officers was known as the Midnight Crew. Some stories surfaced about Jon Burge's men using suffocation and Russian roulette as means of extracting confessions from their prisoners.
In 1993, Jon Burge was sacked albeit never charged with the violent crimes he committed. In 2010, he was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in a civil case accusing him of torturing citizens.
He was then jailed for four and a half years but was released in 2014. Jon Burge, the man notorious for police brutality, has since been living on police pension, the report detailed.
Prexy Nesbitt, one of Chicago's former adviser to the city mayor and also a victim of police brutality, said the approved compensation would serve as a "statement to the world." Nesbitt said it should help change the "racial climate" and enact a much needed change in Chicago.
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