This month, the Chicago City Council made history by approving a $5.5 million reparations package for victims of abuse at the hands of former police Commander Jon Burge. Burge and his men allegedly tortured upward of 100 people, mostly African American male residents of the south side. Prior to casting the unanimous vote of approval, members of the council rose and individually acknowledged each abuse victim by name, many of whom were in the room.
The ordinance also includes a formal apology as well as hints at other benefits to more than 50 torture victims which may include free City Colleges tuition, counseling, job training and senior services. This move by the City of Chicago is the first of its kind in the country. It also serves to bring into light a dark chapter in Chicago history and ensures that it will never be forgotten. The deal would also create curriculum for eighth and tenth graders to be taught about the Burge case and its legacy.
Long committed to restoring the trust between police and their communities, we, at Romanucci & Blandin, salute the city of Chicago and Mayor Emmanuel for taking this historic step to right the wrongs of the past.