Chicago Police Torture: How Would CPAC Make a Difference?

Jun 10, 2015


Of all the detective divisions in the Chicago Police Department, Areas 2 & 3 on the South Side have the most famous history of police crimes. In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, 200 young men, mostly Black, were imprisoned on convictions won by the government through forced confessions gained by torture. The head of the detectives in Area 2, then Area 3, was Jon Burge.

 Of course, Burge was only the head of a torture ring. Three of his torture ring of white detectives – Kenneth Boudreau, John Halloran, and James O’Brien – victimized their own list of men. And four of those prisoners,  Sean Tyler, Andre Brown, William Negron, George Anderson plus Anthony Jakes and Jaime Hauad have court appearances in the coming weeks, see details here.

How things could have been different had an elected, civilian police accountability council (CPAC) been in place when these men were arrested:

Transparency for all investigations. Cover ups by cops would be prevented because a CPAC councilor and staff would be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to handle immediate complaints lodged against the Department in that district. The council would have the power to request information related to an investigation from any employee or officer of the district.

Subpoena power, to force cops to testify. Subpoenas would also compel the attendance of witnesses for purposes of examination and the production of documents and other items for inspection and/or duplication.

Timely investigation. With subpoena power, the State’s Attorney won’t be allowed to delay an investigation.

Prevent cover ups. If the States Attorney conspires to cover up police crimes, CPAC has the power to refer cases to the U.S. Federal Grand Jury and the U.S. Attorney to seek indictments of police officers for crimes they commit.

Cooperation with investigations. CPAC would choose and supervise the superintendent of the police. The superintendent can order commanders to cooperate with investigations.

Discipline and criminal charges. CPAC would be the final authority on discipline in the CPD. CPAC will replace the current rubber-stamp Police Board and take over the job of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and eliminate it. No more slaps on the wrist. Police crimes will be dealt with by suspensions and firings.