Daley's deposition delayed in torture case

September 7, 2011 2:18:10 PM PDT
Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley will not testify under oath this week about his involvement in a high-profile police brutality case.

Daley was supposed to give a deposition for a lawsuit filed by former inmate Michael Tillman that involves former Chicago Police Lieutenant Jon Burge. Now that deposition is on hold.

"We can end it, I just want to end it, I want to put this behind me," Tillman said Wednesday.

Tillman spent nearly 24 years behind bars for a crime the current Cook County state's attorney's office says he didn't commit.

In 1986 Tillman was arrested for the rape and murder of Betty Howard, who lived in a high-rise where Tillman worked as a janitor. Detectives under the watch of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge investigated the case. Tillman says they tortured him.

"I had a gun placed to my head while I was on my knees," said Tillman. "and other things."

Now Tillman is suing Burge, other officers and Daley, who is not only the former mayor but was the state's attorney overseeing the prosecution of Tillman's original case. Tillman's suit claims they were all part of a torture conspiracy.

What is unusual about this lawsuit is a recent ruling allowing Daley to remain as a defendant and be sued for his alleged involvement in the case both as state's attorney and mayor.

"He should have at that time investigated, he should have prosecuted, and if he had, Michael Tillman never would have been arrested, falsely charged and falsely convicted or tortured," said Tillman's attorney Flint Taylor.

Taylor originally wanted to depose Daley in the case on Thursday, but the city notified him that Daley would not be showing up.

"I would think he would want to step up and tell everybody, the public, why he did what he did and why he didn't do what he didn't do," Taylor said.

While lawyers fight it out in court, Tillman is just waiting for a resolution.

"I have to relive this all over again, that's what goes through my mind, I'm trying to put it all behind me," said Tillman.

By statute, the city's law department is in charge of handing the former Mayor Daley's defense. City officials tell ABC7 they have asked for the deposition to be either postponed or cancelled while they wait for the judge's ruling on whether or not to reconsider keeping Daley as a defendant in the case.

Tillman's lawyer has asked for a new deposition date at the end of the month.