Rainbow Push Coalition Celebrates Outcome of Torture Trial

Torture victims hope legislation prevents police abuse

WGN-TV, Chicago
Saturday, July 3, 2010

CHICAGO - Torture victims joined ministers and activists today to celebrate the conviction of perjury in the torture trial of former police commander Jon Burge. But today, this group says more has to be done to keep abuse from occurring under another commander's watch.

About a half dozen torture victims attended a special July 4th service at Rainbow Push Headquarters. "i was 17 years old when i was framed and kidnapped from my family," torture victim Mike Evans said.

The victims along with Rev. Jesse Jackson and other ministers are calling for legislation to make police torture a federal crime.

"Those who knew about it and said nothing were all part of a system of torture," said Rev. Jackson, adding "many of them are still working on the police department today."

Anthony Holmes spent thirty years in the state penitentiary after being forced into confessing to a murder he didn't commit. He says Burge should have been charged with attempted murder. "i spoke about Jon Burge because he was the one that tortured me. He tried to kill me. He suffocated me, he tortured me for two days," he said. "My family couldn't find me" he added.

Mark Clements was just 16 when he was tortured into a murder confession. "I was beat by a detective who i had seen drinking in the bathroom," said Clements.

In addition to making torture a federal crime, they're also asking Governor Patrick Quinn to establish a torture commission.

While these victims celebrate Independence weekend, they say their freedom came with a cost.

"i always had belief in my country and the American dream, but now i have doubts in the American dream," Evans said.

Earlier this week, Congressman Danny Davis said he plans to introduce legislation that would make torture by law enforcement officers a federal crime with no statute of limitations.