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November 17, 2004
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Cops Take 5th Amendment in Chicago Police Lawsuit Alleging Torture of Suspects

The Associated Press

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- More than two dozen current and former police officials and homicide detectives have taken the 5th Amendment when questioned in a civil lawsuit alleging that Chicago police used torture when interrogating suspects, attorneys said Tuesday.

Attorneys for two former death row inmates told U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown that the former detectives and officials have refused to testify because they are covering up the use of torture by police.

"Twenty-eight former deputy superintendents and other officials in the police department have all taken the 5th Amendment," attorney G. Flint Taylor told the court.

The disclosure came at a hearing in a suit filed by former inmate Madison Hobley. He claims he was tortured into confessing to a murder he didn't commit and is seeking millions of dollars in damages.

The judge agreed with attorneys for the former officers who sought to bar lawyers for Hobley and another former inmate, Aaron Patterson, from making public transcripts and videotapes of depositions at which the detectives and officials took the 5th Amendment.

She issued a ruling barring such disclosures.

Hobley attorney Kurt H. Feuer argued that reporters should be able to have the transcripts and videotapes: "This is something that the public has a right to know."

James Sotos, who represents a number of former officers who are defendants or potential witnesses, said the primary aim of providing the tapes to the media was to embarrass the officers involved.

Among his clients is Jon Burge, the former commander of a homicide unit where much of the torture allegedly took place.

The two former prisoners say Burge and detectives under him tortured them into confessing to murders they didn't commit. Both men were among four death row inmates pardoned by former Gov. George Ryan just before he left office.

Attorneys for Burge, who was fired by the police department following an internal investigation, have denied he was ever involved in torture. But inmates say they were beaten, dunked in water and questioned with a plastic typewriter cover over their heads, among other things. Taylor says electric shock devices may have been used.

The controversy has dragged on for years.

A special prosecutor is currently conducting an investigation with the potential of bringing criminal charges.

Sotos said in a telephone interview that his clients "would jump at the chance to testify" if not for the special prosecutor's investigation. It's possible, he said, that anyone who testifies they may be charged by the special prosecutor with taking part in a cover-up conspiracy.

"They would love to testify," he said. "It's killing them that they can't."CHICAGO (AP) -- More than two dozen current and former police officials and homicide detectives have taken the 5th Amendment when questioned in a civil lawsuit alleging that Chicago police used torture when interrogating suspects, attorneys said Tuesday.

Attorneys for two former death row inmates told U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown that the former detectives and officials have refused to testify because they are covering up the use of torture by police.

"Twenty-eight former deputy superintendents and other officials in the police department have all taken the 5th Amendment," attorney G. Flint Taylor told the court.

The disclosure came at a hearing in a suit filed by former inmate Madison Hobley. He claims he was tortured into confessing to a murder he didn't commit and is seeking millions of dollars in damages.

The judge agreed with attorneys for the former officers who sought to bar lawyers for Hobley and another former inmate, Aaron Patterson, from making public transcripts and videotapes of depositions at which the detectives and officials took the 5th Amendment.

She issued a ruling barring such disclosures.

Hobley attorney Kurt H. Feuer argued that reporters should be able to have the transcripts and videotapes: "This is something that the public has a right to know."

James Sotos, who represents a number of former officers who are defendants or potential witnesses, said the primary aim of providing the tapes to the media was to embarrass the officers involved.

Among his clients is Jon Burge, the former commander of a homicide unit where much of the torture allegedly took place.

The two former prisoners say Burge and detectives under him tortured them into confessing to murders they didn't commit. Both men were among four death row inmates pardoned by former Gov. George Ryan just before he left office.

Attorneys for Burge, who was fired by the police department following an internal investigation, have denied he was ever involved in torture. But inmates say they were beaten, dunked in water and questioned with a plastic typewriter cover over their heads, among other things. Taylor says electric shock devices may have been used.

The controversy has dragged on for years.

A special prosecutor is currently conducting an investigation with the potential of bringing criminal charges.

Sotos said in a telephone interview that his clients "would jump at the chance to testify" if not for the special prosecutor's investigation. It's possible, he said, that anyone who testifies they may be charged by the special prosecutor with taking part in a cover-up conspiracy.

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

"They would love to testify," he said. "It's killing them that they can't."






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