Mayor Rahm Emanuel apologized Wednesday for a "dark chapter" in Chicago’s history, speaking on police-torture cases that have plagued the city, but some say the apology isn’t enough.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel made headlines this week when he apologized for the police torture scandal that he said marked a "dark chapter" in Chicago’s history, but some are saying the apology isn’t enough.
For Darrell Cannon, who claims the police torture led him to confessing to a crime that he says he did not commit, that “dark chapter” put him behind bars for 24 years.
Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was convicted in 2010 of lying under oath about torturing suspects into confessions and was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison.
Dozens of people, almost all of them black men, claimed for decades that Burge and his officers tortured them into confessing to crimes ranging from armed robbery to murder.
“He took 24 years of my life,” Cannon said. “For me, 24 years of my life can never be re-gotten or repaid because of what Jon Burge and company did to me.”
Chicago aldermen signed off Wednesday on a $12.3 million settlement in two more police-torture cases, stemming from lawsuits by Ronald Kitchen and Marvin Reeves. The approval brings the total payouts in the long-running torture cases to more than $80 million.
Though none of the cases occurred during Emanuel's tenure, he made the apology Wednesday after being asked repeatedly by a reporter if he would apologize.
"I am sorry this happened," he said in response. "Let us all now move on."
But for Cannon, the apology wasn't enough.
“It’s not enough for me,” he said. “Put some significance behind it, do something meaningful. There are other Darrell Cannons who are still languishing in prison who have yet to have hearings.”
There's still a possibility that more lawsuits could be filed if the convictions of dozens of other prison inmates who claim they were tortured by Burge and his detectives are overturned.
A clearly frustrated aldermen dismissed any suggestion that they are close to a final settlement.
"I am sure we're going to be sitting her for other cases from this man, Jon Burge, and his henchmen and what they did... to maim the young African American men in this city," Ald. Joe Moreno said last week.
Rev. Jesse Jackson also spoke out about the apology, asking that Emanuel meets with the victims personally and “get to the truth at the bottom of this.”
Ald. Bob Fioretti also said the apology wasn't the end.
"An apology is nice but now we’ve got to back it up with action," he said at a Rainbow PUSH meeting Saturday.
Cannon’s attorney agreed that the apology alone is not significant enough to make a difference, but noted it was a “step in the right direction.”
“Finally, they have made some admission to the community of wrongdoing and I think that that has some strong impact on the attempt to cleanse the city of its conscience, of its wrongdoing, and try to heal this horrible crime that’s gone on here for decades,” said Flint Taylor of the People’s Law Office. “But by itself it doesn’t mean enough. The men who, many like Darrell, who didn’t get lawsuits because of the cover up, they need to be compensated.”