Racist Cop Torturers: Chicago’s Abu Ghraib

CHICAGO, IL, October 26 — Yesterday a majority of the City Council asked a federal judge for access to the names of hundreds of Chicago cops who have multiple citizen complaints against them for brutality and false arrests. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) has lacked a superintendent since April and the current interim chief said that the current scandals are “eroding confidence” in the department. A former FBI official and president of the Chicago Crime Commission said, “Suspicion is running very high as to who you can trust, as far as officers.” (NY Times, 10/26)

This follows a series of crises that have rocked the racist CPD, starting with the ongoing investigations into the torture cases involving Jon Burge & Co. From 1973 to 1991, long before Abu Ghraib, detectives under Burge’s command used what the City’s own lawyers called, “savage torture” to get confessions from suspects. Ninety people complained of the use of electric shock with portable hand-cranked generators, suffocation, burnings on very hot radiators, the use of cattle prods on the genitals, severe beatings and mock executions.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor who convicted Cheney’s errand boy Scooter Libby, has taken over after the County’s four-year investigation found a long history of racist torture and brutality against black workers. It also found that Assistant State Attorneys never properly investigated the torture charges and that those who prosecuted the victims are now the very judges denying them appeals! The investigation also found that Mayor Daley, then a State’s Attorney, knew of the torture complaints and did nothing.

The statute of limitations has run out so the torturers, from Burge to Daley, cannot be prosecuted. The feds are investigating perjury allegations against police and others. The city is spending millions on attorneys, including Burge’s lawyers, to delay settlement of the civil torture cases.

More recently, the Special Operations Section (SOS), an “elite” anti-drug/anti-gang unit, was dissolved due to its own crime wave of robbery, false arrests, kidnappings, brutality, and murder. One cop is charged with hiring a hit-man to murder another cop who was willing to testify to save himself.

This past August, the police went on a racist rampage and brutally murdered four young men in cold blood, in four separate incidents. West Side workers and youth marched and confronted the police over the murder of 18-year-old Aaron Harrison. PLP was active in this fight-back and met many angry residents. They’re being invited to this month’s CHALLENGE dinner.

Last week, two cops were found guilty in a civil case of sodomizing a young black worker with a screwdriver, after having been “cleared” by the Office of Professional Standards. (OPS “investigates” citizen complaints). That will cost the city $4 million. Another jury awarded another black man $2 million for being framed and falsely arrested.

Like many politicians, CEO’s, bankers and union leaders, personal corruption has hurt the CPD’s ability to implement the rulers’ plans for war and fascism. To regain control of the police, the City is working with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a “progressive” police think-tank that includes NYPD chief Ray Kelly and LAPD chief Bratton, and follows George Kelling’s community policing model.

Now Al Sharpton has opened up shop here to maintain control of masses of angry workers and youth, taking advantage of Jesse Jackson’s silence about the rise in racist police terror. Sharpton criticized Daley for not handling the SOS scandal. He’s calling for a civilian review board over the police.

But review boards won’t stop these racist killer-torturers from doing the bosses dirty work of terrorizing us into accepting a future of wider wars and poverty wages. Review boards won’t stop racist cutbacks in mass transit and public health to finance the endless oil wars. The racist murderers and torturers and the entire capitalist system they protect must be destroyed with communist revolution!

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