Torture Victim Reflects on Burge Sentence


The 4 ½ -year sentence handed down to former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge recently for federal crimes of lying and obstructing justice did not sit well with a lot of people, including Mark Clements, who is one of those tortured by detectives under Burge’s command.

This protester was among the many encouraging Mayor Daley to take part in jailing former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, and to go after Detectives under his watch accused of torturing murder suspects in their custody in the 1970 and 1980s, during a rally outside City Hall in May 2010. Photo by Mary C. Johns

“It was outrageous,” Clements declared to Residents’ Journal during a phone interview on Jan. 25, a few days after the sentencing. “It was a smack in the face to the African American community concerning what Mr. Burge did.”

Clements, a longtime advocate to jail Burge, was tortured in June 1981, when he was 16 years old.

Burge, 63, was sentenced Jan. 21 to serve 4 ½ years in a federal prison for lying in a federal civil trial about torture committed against more than 100 African American men and women at Area 2 and 3 Police Headquarters in the 1970s and 1980s. The torture victims were murder suspects in police custody. Burge was fired as police commander in 1993.

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