Chicago taxpayers will pay out $7.1 million dollars to two men who say they were tortured by Chicago police. The Chicago City Council Finance Committee unanimously approved the settlement Monday morning. The full Council votes on Wednesday.
$5.3 million will go to Michael Tillman who spent 23 years in prison for a 1986 murder, officials now say, he did not commit. Tillman was released from prison in January 2010.
Tillman said he originally confessed to the crime after being tortured.
“He alleges that various detective under the leadership or direction of Commander Burge, struck him in the head, “ Corporation Counsel Steve Patton told aldermen Monday.
In a 2011 interview Tillman, with tears in his eyes, said, “I had a plastic bag placed over my head repeatedly. I had gun put to my head while I was on my knees. I had 7Up poured down my nose.”
The proposed settlement means former Mayor Richard Daley won’t have to be sworn in and deposed as a defendant in a federal civil law suit.
In a written statement Tillman replied, “I am sorry that Mayor Daley will not be questioned in my case, but that does not change the fact that he did me and my family wrong.”
Daley has denied knowing anything about police torture.
Tillman filed a civil law suit in federal court and last summer federal judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled that former Mayor Daley could be listed as a defendant.
Taylor moved to depose the ex-mayor and Daley’s attorneys fought back.
Corporation Counsel Patton said Daley’s role in the lawsuit played no part in today’s settlement.
“Absolutely not. It had absolutely noting to do with our decision to settle or the amount that we negotiated,” Patton told reporters.
“All of you and the people of the city of Chicago can draw their own conclusions about whether Mayor Daley and his role in this case had anything to do with the settlement in this case,” said Flint Taylor, Tillman’s attorney.
More than 100 defendants claim in the 1970’s and 8o’s they were tortured by Chicago police.
At Monday’s hearing Alderman Emma Mitts said it included one of her family members.
“What was done was so terrible,” she said.
Patton called it a dark chapter in the history of the city and said there is no doubt that some suspects were tortured by a small band of Chicago police officers.
“None what so ever. There was torture,” Patton said.
Five more torture cases remain and Taylor says there is a chance Daley could be deposed in those cases. Taylor called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to offer his own apology to Tillman and others who were tortured at Wednesday’s Council meeting.