The People’s Law Office joins the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) and their partner organizations in their campaign during Torture Awareness Month to continue its efforts to “confront the culture of torture” in the United States. As NRCAT writes on its website nrcat.org.
Torture has taken root in American culture and in Americans’ moral consciousness. Since 9/11, we have become a people who:
Applaud when our high-ranking government officials openly advocate for the use of torture;
Believe that torture is always or sometimes justified if it leads terrorism suspects to give us information;
Accept the use of solitary confinement for weeks, months and years on end in our nation’s prisons;
Foster an environment in which torture is acceptable by exhibiting increasingly hostile attitudes towards our Muslim brothers and sisters.
We completely agree with NRCAT that “torture is always wrong. It is illegal, inhumane and intolerable. Torture violates the inherent dignity of man which all religions hold as the highest ideal. Torture degrades everyone involved—perpetrator, victims and witnesses alike.”
Unfortunately, the City of Chicago remains the reigning torture capital of the United States, because
Mayor Emanuel, the City’s administration and its police department continue to pour millions of dollars into the defense of notorious police torturer Jon Burge and his midnight crew of torturers in several civil torture cases, rather than fairly settling those cases;
The present and former Mayors refuse to apologize to the torture survivors, their families and Chicago’s African-American community despite overwhelming evidence that there was a pattern and practice of police torture under Jon Burge’s command for more than 20 years;
The City refuses to provide reparations in the form of mental health services, job opportunities and financial compensation to Burge torture survivors who have no claim for damages due to the statute of limitations;
The City refuses to contest the payment of Jon Burge’s pension despite the fact that he was convicted of lying about torture and is serving a 4 ½ year sentence in Federal prison.
During Torture Awareness Month, The People’s Law Office continues to demand that the City
cleanse itself from the stain of the police torture scandal, and further calls upon the Special Prosecutor to agree to new hearings for those torture victims still behind bars, on the U.S. Attorney to indict and prosecute all of Burge’s co-conspirators, and the U.S. Congress to pass congressman Danny Davis’ Law Enforcement Torture Prevention Act, that makes police torture a federal crime with no statute of limitations. In connection with Torture Awareness Month, we are posting A Long and Winding Road, a soon to be published article by PLO attorney Flint Taylor that chronicles the history of the struggle for justice in the Police Torture cases.
Read more about our work opposing torture on the Chicago Police Torture page on this site.