UN Anti-Torture Watchdog Dismayed at US Failure to Provide Redress for Chicago Police Torture Survivors
The United States was criticized by the United Nations Committee Against Torture in its recently released report for failing to provide redress for Chicago Police Department torture survivors. The Committee expressed concern that CPD Commander Jon Burge and other officer had engaged in torture between 1972 and 1991, however, no officer had been convicted for torture, particularly because the statute of limitations expired and victims have received zero compensation.
The report was issued as part of the Committee’s duty to review countries that are signed on to the Convention Against Torture (CAT) every four years. The US sent a delegation to Geneva in November and had an opportunity to address issues raised by members of the Committee. Civil society organizations and various grassroots groups also submitted “shadow reports” to the Committee, which brought attention to issues the US government was probably going to conceal or ignore while being questioned.
One of these groups that submitted a “shadow report” was Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM). CTJM, along with Black People Against Police Torture, the National Conference of Black Lawyers and Amnesty International USA updated the committee on the latest efforts to achieve some semblance of justice for survivors of Chicago police torture.
I interviewed Joey Mogul, who is a partner with the People’s Law Office and a part of CTJM. She discussed the efforts she and others in Chicago have been engaged in over the past couple of decades to make Chicago police torture an international human rights issue. She reacted to the Committee’s findings against the United States and the singling out of the Chicago Police Department (once again). She also detailed how organizers in Chicago have worked to convince the Chicago City Council to pass an ordinance that would provide reparations for torture survivors, which the Committee encouraged the US to pass in its report [PDF].