CITY HALL — Two police-torture victims of notorious Cmdr. Jon Burge gave graphic testimony Tuesday in a reparations hearing.
Anthony Holmes and Darrell Cannon both said they were tortured by Burge and members of his "midnight crew," Holmes in 1973, Cannon 10 years later.
They're representative of Burge torture victims who have not previously been compensated for what they suffered, as any crimes committed against them happened so long ago that the statute of limitations had expired. Others have benefited from more than $64 million the city has meted out in settlements to Burge torture victims.
Holmes said he had a plastic bag placed over his head to threaten strangulation and was shocked with an electric generator. He said once the bag was over his head and the generator was attached to his body, "it was all about the electrocution and the strangulation."
Holmes said of Burge: "He got to me. He broke me." But he quickly added: "His problem was he let me live."
Holmes confessed to a murder he didn't commit and served his entire 30-year prison sentence before Burge's torture practices were accepted as facts by the legal system. Unlike others who've received multimillion-dollar settlements from the city, Holmes saw the statute of limitations expire and received no compensation.
But he was a key witness in the Burge perjury trial for lying about police torture, which led to Burge serving a three-year prison term.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't suffer," Holmes said, adding, "Don't feel sorry for me. I'm gonna be all right."
Holmes figures to receive the full possible allotment of $100,000 from the $5.5 million reparations fund the City Council is expected to create along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel next month.
So might Darrell Cannon, who testified about being tortured by three Burge "henchmen" in the Police Department in 1983. Cannon said he was taken to a remote area of the South Side and told to "look around" at how there was no one to witness what might happen to him. Cannon said he was threatened three times with shotgun blasts to the head in what amounted to a game of "Russian roulette."
Cannon testified he was then shocked in the genitals with an electric cattle prod. He eventually served 24 years on a murder conviction that was later dismissed.
Cannon compared his treatment to lynchings of African-Americans in the South at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, saying, "The new-wave Klan wore badges instead of sheets."
Cannon broke down during his testimony and had a glass of water poured for him by Ald. Edward Burke (14th), chairman of the Finance Committee holding the heading and a former Chicago Police officer himself.
"I cry not because I'm hurt," Cannon said. "I cry because I'm mad. And I'm still mad today."
Cannon said that when he collects any reparation money, he plans to buy a motorcycle and take a victory lap around City Hall.
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