Keeping it Real

Mayor Daley's retirement plans

By: Pardoned Illinois death row prisoner Stanley Howard

Wow! That was my first reaction to hearing the shocking news that Richard M. Daley, mayor of Chicago, decided not to seek re-election.

Other than saying “it’s time to move on,” Daley did not give a reason for his decision. But I know his conscience had to been beating the hell out of him.

Many people, including some pundits, are praising Daley like he was a political God—while others, including myself, see him as a corrupted and heartless sicko. It’s well documented that while serving as Cook County state’s attorney from 1981 to 1989, Daley allowed Lt. Jon Burge and his officers to torture scores of Black men with impunity. 

He looked the other way and mounted a strong campaign against claims of torture, so he could continue using tortured confessions to obtain a host of wrongful convictions and death sentences—ruining many lives and families. 

Daley’s actions and inactions gave Burge the green light to continue running a torture chamber—likely worse than Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay—inside a Chicago police station. Instead of shutting down the torture chamber when he became mayor in 1989, Daley used his power over City Council, the police department and other public officials to cover up the torture scandal and protect himself and others from criminal prosecution. 

In a 1991 police internal report that was released to the public by a federal judge over Daley’s vigorous objections, investigators found that systematic abuse and planned torture did occur, and command personnel had either condoned it or actively participated in it. In response, Daley angrily de­nounced the report and defended Burge. “These are only allegations,” a red-faced Daley roared into the cameras. “Rumors, stories, things like that.”

At that very moment, Daley should have been tarred, feathered and chased out of office in shame.  

He intentionally tried to murder me and other torture victims with false confessions he knew were obtained by torture. He did not care about our lives because he was building a political career to run for mayor. 

Every time I think about Jon Burge and the officers that tortured me, I think about the 16 years I spent on death row, and Daley trying to murder me with a lethal injection. 

So I apologize for not adding to the chorus of pleasantries of how Daley beautified the city with Millennium Park.

Keeping It Real…Daley should not be allowed to go off peacefully into the sunset of retirement. He should be joining the now convicted Jon Burge in a federal prison retirement home for perpetrating and covering up the largest police corruption scandal in U.S. history.  

You can contact Stanley by writing to: Stanley Howard #N71620, 2600 N. Brinton Ave., Dixon, IL 61021