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Daley Could Be Called in Burge Civil Case

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    NEWSLETTERS

    If all goes according to the plan of attorney Flint Taylor, the former mayor on Sept. 8 will raise his right hand and be sworn as a witness. (Published Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011)

    If all goes according to the plan of attorney Flint Taylor, former Mayor Richard Daley on Sept. 8 will raise his right hand and be sworn as a witness.

    At that point, and for the first time, Taylor will get to question the former mayor about what he knew and when he knew it, regarding the torture of 110 African-American men by a small band of white Chicago police officers.

    A request to take the videotaped deposition of the former mayor was filed in federal court on Aug. 3.

    All of it center on the case of former police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

    A federal jury in 2010 convicted Burge of perjury and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors said Burge lied in a civil court case when asked if he knew of the torture. Burge is currently serving his 4.5-year sentence in North Carolina.

    Among those who said he was tortured is Michael Tillman, who was freed in 2010 after spending 23 years in prison for murder.

    “I’ve got to get used to society all over again,” Tillman said last year as he walked out of the Cook County Courts building.

    Tillman originally confessed. But officials now say the confession was coerced and there was no reliable evidence against him.

    "They suffocated him. They used a form of water boarding, pouring 7Up, up his nose. That’s the kind of torture they used over a four-day period with Michael Tillman," Taylor said.

    In his civil lawsuit, Tillman alleges the city conspired to cover up the torture cases dating back to 1973.

    Federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer accepted part of his argument writing, "The court concludes Plaintiff has presented more than "naked assertions," and his conspiracy claim survives."

    That ruling opened the door for Daley to be deposed.

    Burge has already been deposed, from prison.

    So has former Lt. Jack Byrne and former Det. Peter Dignan.

    All consistently took the Fifth Amendment.

    "They took the Fifth Amendment because they are under investigation by the federal government and we are hopeful the federal government will indict them as the federal government did indict Jon Burge," said Taylor. "They richly deserve to be prosecuted the same way Jon Burge has been prosecuted."

    Darrell Cannon was arrested by Byrne and Dignan in 1983.

    In a 2010 interview, Cannon said officers faked a Russian roulette game with a shotgun he wrongly believed was loaded. And electroshocked him with a cattle prod.

    "And when they kept on asking me questions and I refused to give them the answers they wanted they stuck me with the electric cattle prod," Cannon recalled. "Now in my lifetime, I have never felt the kind of pain that I felt that day."

    Burge, Byrne and Dignan all declined to comment.

    Cannon was released from prison in 2007, after his case was dismissed.

    According to Taylor, the city and county have spent approximately $50-million in court cases defending Burge. The city declined to comment.

    And it’s not over.

    There are currently six civil lawsuits pending against Burge and the city, including defendant Richard Daley.

    A federal criminal investigation also continues.