Torture Victims Testify in Sentencing Hearing

Sentence for former police lieutenant Jon Burge expected Friday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mark Clements says he's "insulted" that a judge would question the amount of time former police commander Jon Burge should serve in prison and demands compensation for all torture victims. (Published Thursday, Jan 20, 2011)

    Testimony has ended for the day in the sentencing hearing of former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, who was convicted last year of lying about the torture of suspects.

    At times it was difficult for Anthony Holmes to testify about his alleged torture and the 30 years he spent in prison for a crime that he maintains he never committed.

    "The man tried to kill me, but I survived.  And through the grace of God I'm here," said Holmes.

    Alleged torture victim Melvin Jones described in detail to Judge Joan Lefkow how frightened he was as he was shocked by a hand-cranked electrical device.

    Witnesses for the prosecution on Thursday also included an officer who worked under Burge's command and a historian.  They talked about the negative impact of Burge's actions on their lives, the police department and the city.

    "What Burge did wasn't his job.  It was his pleasure.  And his pleasure was to torture African American men," said community activist Wallace "Gator" Bradley.

    Burge was convicted in June of perjury and obstruction of justice.  Burge was charged with lying about the alleged torture in a lawsuit filed by former death row inmate Madison Hobley, who was sentenced to death for a 1987 fire that killed seven people, including his wife and son. Hobley was later pardoned.

    Burge has been free on bond since his five-week trial ended.

    Prosecutors say Burge's convictions deserve 30-plus years in prison. They are expected to call one witness Friday before the defense presents its case.

    Defense attorneys are arguing for less than two years for the former commander whose name has become synonymous with police brutality in Chicago.