Rahm Emanuel may have found an easy out from a sticky political situation.
The mayor told the Chicago Sun-Times Monday that he is working toward settling a number of civil cases against former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, who was convicted of lying about torturing suspects during his tenure with the police.
Numerous victims have come forward after the conviction with aims to sue the city, former mayor Richard Daley, Burge and others. NBC Chicago and the Sun-Times last week learned that Federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said Daley could be deposed in a case brought by victim Michael Tillman.
Monday, Emanuel said he would consider settling the 30-year-old case with Tillman and the rest in an effort to put it to bed.
“We have a future to build -- not a past to settle. That’s what I look at,” the mayor said in an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.
“How old is this now -- 30 years old? ... It is time we end it.”
Emanuel talked about the possibility of compensating Michael Tillman and other victims of police torture, even as he defended his decision to provide a legal defense for former Mayor Richard M. Daley for his role in the case.
By supporting Daley -- while at the same time decrying Burge's ongoing pension -- Emanuel put himself in a difficult political position. His support for the former mayor could appear as a tacit admission that Daley's policies were sound.
"We're very encouraged by what the mayor said. We've had no communication with either the mayor or his lawyers," said attorney Flint Taylor, who represents three of the plaintiffs.
If Emanuel is able to settle the cases, he could effectively take the political implications out of the equation. It could also put an end to a black mark on the city that has lasted for 30 years and cost more than $43 million.
Read more in the Sun-Times.