Alleged Burge victims speak about arrest

June 28, 2010 1:36:01 PM PDT
Some victims who claim they were tortured into confessing by a former Chicago commander and other officers say an arrest Tuesday is a major step toward justice.Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was arrested and charged with perjury and obstruction of justice Tuesday. A federal indictment claims Burge lied in written answers to a civil rights lawsuit when he said he and detectives under his command never tortured suspects.

It's a day many thought they'd never see. Their stories first gained credibility because so many were so similar. They tell of being suffocated with a typewriter cover, electro-shocked and being on the receiving end of an unwelcome game of Russian roulette. They say the rules were clear: the torture would stop once a confession was made.

"All throughout that night, they tortured us; they put plastic bags over our heads," Greg Banks said.

"Electro-shocked him, beat him in his chest, spit in his face," said one woman.

"Yeah, I wasn't a good guy, but I wasn't a bad guy either. I didn't deserve to be tortured, choked, electrocuted," said alleged victim Anthony Holmes.

Theirs are the tales of torture. They've been telling these stories at news conferences, protests and in legal depositions for years. And they all point to one man as the person who either did the torturing, or had his men do it for him.

"He did me like that six or seven times. The last four times I thought I was dead, felt like 1,000 needles going through my body all at one time. I gave up. I said, 'Hell with it, I'm through," said Holmes.

Holmes served 33 years for murder after he says Burge and his men tortured him into confessing to a crime he didn't commit.

"When they got done torturing me I told 'em, 'Man, if you want me to say God killed those people, I did that, too. That's how bad it was," Holmes said.

"For every four or five men we have here, there five times as many men still in the penitentiary, 75 victims out on the street with no remedy," said Flint Taylor, plaintiff attorney.

"The man that has been skating for so long, riding in his boat, catching fish, well now, he's in jail killing roaches. And that's exactly where he belongs, God willing, the rest of them will follow suit," said alleged victim Darrell Cannon.

The alleged victims are hoping their cases will be thrown out. Because of their records and reputation, they are unable to find jobs and housing. In fact, some of the men are homeless. They are hoping the men who are responsible for their loss of freedom and the torture will be prosecuted along with Burge.

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