Civil Rights, Wrongful Convictions

Chicago Torture Justice Memorials seeks to hire a project coordinator

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by Frederick H. Lowe

CHICAGO — Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, which successfully lobbied Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council to provide an unprecedented $5.5 million in reparations for black men who were tortured by Chicago police into confessing to crimes they didn’t commit, is seeking to hire a project coordinator to manage a community center on the South Side for survivors of police torture and their families.

Chicago Torture Justice Memorials
Chicago Torture Justice Memorials

The deadline for the project manager’s position, the Torture Justice Memorials’ first paid position, is 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20. The job link is To apply, applicants must send a cover letter to

“The project coordinator will manage project planning and implementation, along with program development,” The Chicago Torture Justice Memorials wrote in a statement. “The coordinator will develop and maintain relationships needed to support the Community Center for Survivors and Families of Police Torture and will gather, organize, and synthesize information needed to inform program design for survivors, their family members and community members.”

A steering committee, known as the Community Center for Survivors and Families of Police Torture Steering Committee, has been created for the psychological community counseling center.

The community center will provide specialized trauma services for those tortured by law enforcement in the U.S. There are approximately 19 Chicago police (Burge) torture survivors who remain in prison and whose conviction rests in whole or in part on their coerced confessions. Burge and his so-called “Midnight Crew” tortured 120 African-American men, using electric shock, mock executions, suffocation and beatings.

After decades of difficult and challenging work that involved even getting Chicago aldermen to listen to their well-supported claims, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, the City Council in May finally passed historic legislation, providing reparations to survivors of racially motivated police torture under the command of now disgraced former police commander Jon Burge between 1972 and 1991.

Burge was fired from the CPD in 1993. He was tried in federal court and, in 2010, convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury for lying when he falsely denied that he and others committed acts of torture. After serving approximately 3 ½ years in federal prison, he was released from prison to a halfway house on October 2, 2014.

As part of the agreement, Chicago apologized to the torture victims, Chicago City Colleges agreed to provide a free education, job training, a public memorial, education on police torture taught in the public schools and reparations which comes to a maximum of $100,000 for each man who can prove he was tortured by Burge and his crew.

Darrell Cannon, who spent 24 years and five months in prison after being tortured by Burge’s cops into confessing to a crime he did not commit, said he is applying  for the money.

Once he receives the funds, Cannon, 64, said he plans to buy a motorcycle and ride it around City Hall.

Applicants seeking the funds had to have submitted a completed claim by August 4 to Professor Daniel T. Coyne, a clinical law professor at IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Stephen R. Patton, Chicago’s Corporation Counsel, said many of the men are like Cannon, senior citizens.

Although the reparations will provide a financial boost for the men who have very little or nothing, the men who spent decades in prison not working on a job for a minimum of 10 years that paid into Social Security will not qualify for full Social Security benefits.


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