“Illinois Torture Panel Broke” @ Huffington Post
Posted on February 22, 2012
Karen Hawkins — February 7, 2012: “A commission created by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn nearly two years ago with the ambitious goal of righting the wrongs of Chicago’s police torture scandal is quietly falling apart, another apparent victim of the state’s budget mess.
The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission hasn’t even met since August or reviewed a single case. It is operating with a quarter of the money commissioners sought, which has delayed the hiring of a staff attorney.
Jeanette Plummer’s son Johnny, who at age 15 was arrested for two murders, is among the dozens of current inmates – most of them black – who claim they were beaten or tortured until they confessed to crimes they didn’t commit. She questions if officials really want to learn the truth about a scandal that plagued the police department for nearly three decades.
‘They don’t want these people to get out of jail,” Plummer told The Associated Press. “How would they feel if somebody had them locked up?’
The commission was tasked with reviewing torture claims related to now-incarcerated former Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge and his officers, with priority given to allegations by men who are currently incarcerated. Commissioners can collect evidence of torture and recommend to trial court judges that the cases be reopened.
Instead, commissioners are stalled, bogged down by complicated state rules and not enough money.