After 27 years behind bars, a man who said he was tortured by associates of disgraced Chicago police commander Jon Burge will have to wait another week before he learns if he will get a new trial.
George Anderson said police beat him into giving a false confession that led to his murder conviction in 1991. Almost three decades later, Judge William Hooks said Wednesday he needs until Jan. 16 to issue a decision on a new trial. Anderson was granted a challenge to his case by the state of Illinois’ Torture Inquiry and Review Commission more than four years ago.
“Mr. Anderson was interrogated for over 30 hours over two nights," said David B. Owens, an attorney with the Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago that has represented Anderson for more than five years. "When one set of detectives had finished with him, another set of detectives, also under the command of Jon Burge, came in and started coercing him about a completely different case."
Burge, who died in 2018, was at the center of dozens of cases of police brutality and torture resulting in several multi-million dollar settlements with the city of Chicago.
The police commander was never criminally charged with torture but was convicted in 2010 on obstruction of justice and perjury charges. He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.
Several Burge associates are also facing accusations of abuse, including by Anderson. His attorney said he is hopeful his client’s conviction will be overturned, calling the original evidence tainted and obtained through coercion.
“We have a system here that has too long been wrought with controversy, corruption and other things like that," said Owens. "So, as long as any conviction related to corrupt detectives stands, and there’s an allegation that was credible and made about torture, the entire system is flawed from it’s base."
Multiple supporters were in court Wednesday, including Arthur Brown, Marvin Reeves and Anthony Jakes, all exonerated after decades behind bars. All claim they were also abused and coerced into confessions by Burge associates.
“Too many years Jon Burge got to do what he did, unchecked," said Marvin Reeves, who served 21 years. "Makes me think of the good old boys, unchecked, do what you want to do. [It] shouldn’t be that way."
“I know the significance of being incarcerated for something you are not responsible for," said Arthur Brown, exonerated after more than 29 years. "The only right thing to do is give him justice."