Jury deliberates in cop torture case

July 21, 2010 11:59:44 AM PDT
In the closing arguments Thursday, defense attorneys called Jon Burge a good man and great police officer, but prosecutors say he got away with torturing suspects for decades.

Jurors began deliberating the former police commander's fate on Thursday afternoon. Burge is charged with one count perjury and two counts obstruction of justice in connection with the alleged torture of suspects in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jurors will have to decide if Burge lied about torturing suspects while serving on the Chicago Police Department.

During closing arguments, the government's lead prosecutor Dave Weisman summarized the testimony of five men who allege Burge abused them to try and get confessions: some allege Burge used electro shock, some say they were suffocating with a bag and some said Burge put a loaded gun to their heads.

Weisman argued that Burge operated above the law for decades and bragged about it- even naming his boat VIGILANTE.

"Now you have to say he is not above the law and those abused are not unprotected by the law," Weisman said to the jurors.

Burge's lead defense attorney Rick Beuke argued that those who allege abuse are career criminals trying to get money from civil lawsuits.

Beuke called Burge a good man and a good police officer. "They'd be better off if he was still there. He has nothing to apologize for," said Beuke, referring to Englewood residents.

The last argument jurors heard before deliberating was the rebuttal closing argument by prosecutor April Perry. She argued that none of the men who testified has money to gain and that Burge chose to abuse the men because they were less likely to be believed due to their criminal history.


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