Jon Burge, disgraced former CPD commander, dead at 70

Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, 70, has died in Florida, according to the Fraternal Order of Police.

Burge and his tactics have been the center of several wrongful conviction lawsuits in recent years. The former Area 2 police commander and detectives under his watch were accused of torturing and abusing over 100 suspects, most of whom were black, by using physical force, suffocation and electric shocks to coerce confessions during the '70s and '80s.

Burge denied the allegations. He was fired from the department in 1993 and was allowed to keep his pension.

He was never charged with torturing suspects, but In 2010, he was convicted in federal court for lying under oath about police torture in connection with a lawsuit and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

The Burge scandal resulted in the city and county paying nearly $100 million in settlements and legal fees, and helped fuel distrust of the police among members of Chicago's black community.

Several suspects convicted under his watch eventually had their cases overturned.

Mark Clements spent nearly 30 years in prison for murder before he was released. He said he is still working to help other torture victims who remain behind bars.

“I still hurt, each and every day of my life I hurt. But I try to help someone,” he said.

The Fraternal Order of Police offered condolences to the Burge family in a Facebook post saying it does not believe the full story about the Burge cases has ever been told.

“I don’t know that Jon Burge got a fair shake based on the years of service, but we have to wait and see how that plays out in history I guess,” Dean Angelo Sr., former president of the FOP Lodge 7, said.

Attorney Jon Loevy has represented several torture victims.

“People are still trying to get justice for what has happened to them,” Loevy said.

In 2015, the City Council issued an apology and approved a reparations package for torture survivors.

That included the creation of the Chicago Torture Justice Center in Englewood, which issued a statement saying it is ready to assist survivors, their relatives and the community in dealing with the wide spectrum of emotions that has begun to unfold following the announcement of Burge's death.

Chicago Torture Justice Center Statement by WGN Web Desk on Scribd