City Council approves reparations package for Burge victims

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CHICAGO -- At the city council's final meeting of the session, aldermen approved $5.5 million for the victims of notorius Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.

Those who were subjected to electric shocks, beatings, smotherings, and other acts will be eligible for cash rewards of up to $100,000. As many as 80 victims may be eligible to share in the award. But, the loved ones of victims who have died won't get any money.

The city also issued a formal apology and promised to teach schoolchildren about one of the darkest chapters in Chicago's history.

Before the vote, there was a standing ovation for the victims. Mayor Emanuel said the reparations package is an essential step in righting a wrong.

Burge was convicted of lying about torture while testifying in a civil case.

The City Council will also look at small changes in the city's controversial red-light camera program.

One proposal would have meant longer yellow lights, and required city council approval for any new red light cameras; but both of those provisions were stripped from the ordinance that goes before the council today.

All that remains is a promise to hold some community meetings about it.

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