Judge Denies Appeal to Overturn Torture Settlement

Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner noted the appeal “casts a harsh light on some of the darkest corners of life in Chicago.”

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    Darrell Cannon spent 24 years in prison for a crime officials say he never committed. But in 1988 he was offered and accepted a $3,000 from the city to settle a torture complaint.

    Notorious Chicago police commander Jon Burge won a round in the appellate court Tuesday, but not because his behavior was even remotely endorsed.

    Writing the opinion, Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner noted the appeal “casts a harsh light on some of the darkest corners of life in Chicago.” 

    The case in question involved El Rukn general Darrell Cannon, who, while out on parole for a murder conviction, became involved in a second murder. Cannon settled his claims against Burge and the other officers for $3,000 in February 1988. But he sought a second chance in federal court, contending that Burge and other elements of the Chicago Police Department had engaged in such extensive cover-ups that he was essentially denied his day in court.

    Judge Amy St. Eve ruled against Cannon, saying the settlement he obtained precluded further action against Burge and his fellow officers. The appellate court on Tuesday agreed.

    Rovner described Burge as a man “whose name evokes shame and disgust in the City of Chicago.”  But, she notes, “Others who were abused by Area 2 officers pursued their claim with more vigor than Cannon, and eventually uncovered the broader police torture scandal involving Jon Burge, the officers who worked under him, and the police officials who looked the other way.”

    “Although he now has evidence suggesting that the City behaved deplorably in other litigation after Cannon settled his case,” she wrote, “that after-the-fact behavior cannot be said to have induced Cannon to settle his case.”

    The judge conceded the case “casts a pall of shame over the City of Chicago,” noting what she called the “appalling actions by almost everyone associated with these events.”  She notes, though, Cannon settled his suit knowing full well that the police were lying.

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