13 Prospective Jurors Dismissed From Burge Trial

28 jurors were interviewed

By Carol Marin
|  Tuesday, May 25, 2010  |  Updated 6:29 AM CDT
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The former police commander faces perjury charges.

The former police commander faces perjury charges.

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Thirteen prospective jurors have been dismissed in the trial of former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge, who is accused of lying about the decades-old torture of suspects.

After years of allegations that at least 110 men, including cop-killer Andrew Wilson, have been tortured, the process of selecting a jury began in earnest. 

The 62-year-old with a shock of yellow-white hair sat impassively 28 potential jurors were quizzed.

The key question from Federal Judge Joan Lefkow: what have you heard about this case and how has that affected you?

The Burge defense team, which has entered a plea of not guilty, has doubts he can get a fair trial after extensive press converage.

One of those excused Monday included a woman who told the federal judge she couldn't be fair because she'd already made up her mind.
      
But one of those in court, Rainbow Push's Jonathan Jackson said media coverage isn't an issue.

"I think a fair jury is being shaped now," he said.

The charge against Burge is lying under oath when asked if he knew any suspect who was tortured.

Darrell Cannon says he was abused by officers under Burge's command in 1983. The officers, according to Cannon, used a shotgun to play Russian roulete and placed a cattle prod on his genitals while questioning him.

"Until all of them are convicted [and] you take away their pensons, their badges, and you give them some jail time... justice is not done," Cannon said.

Jackson says there is no doubt the torture took place and the city admitted it by making $19 million in payments to victims.

"The torture has been proven.  Now it's a matter of the justice going forward," Jackson said.

Burge, who was fired by the city in 1993, has been living in Florida with a full police pension, much to the dismay of some, like 29th Ward alderman Ed Smith.

"The city spent all kinds of money on Jon Burge while he's sitting down in Florida laying up and relaxing on the flower beds of Eve, we are spending money," he said. 

Jury selection continues Tuesday.

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