Chicago, From the Archive, Illinois, Invisible Institute, Policing, Pozen Center, press, Talks, torture, United States

Invisible Institute: Chicago Police Torture Archive


On Monday, February 15th at 6:30pm, join the Invisible Institute, Chicago Torture Justice Center, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, and the Pozen Center for Human Rights to honor the history and struggle of survivors and their families, and commemorate the launch of the Chicago Police Torture Archive.



Darrell Cannon, a survivor of torture which included beating with a flashlight, Russian roulette, hanging by handcuffs on his wrists, a cattle prod to his testicles and penis, a shotgun pumped in his mouth, all while being verbally abused and repeatedly called the n-word in an abandoned area of the South Side in November of 1983, sits at Leona’s restaurant in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois on June 26, 2016. Cannon spent 24 years wrongly incarcerated for the crime he confessed to after all the torture was committed against him, an act he calls “the most sadistic thing anyone has done to me in my whole life,” based solely on the confession as there were no witnesses or nor evidence to support the confession.

“The Chicago Police Torture Archive is a human rights documentation of former Commander Jon Burge’s violence against more than 100 Black men, from the 1970s-1990s. The journalistic centerpiece of this site are the profiles of police torture survivors, most of whom were represented by the People’s Law Office of Chicago.

“The People’s Law Office (PLO), which had worked alongside activists and in the courts to hold the City to account, donated its files to the Pozen Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago in 2017. Pozen, in turn, asked the Invisible Institute to digitize, curate, and publish the legal archive. Our goal is to make these digitized records accessible to the public and to complement the ecosystem of historicizing survivors’ stories of police torture in Chicago.

“The site includes over 35 profiles of survivors, along with documents collected by PLO of the trials, interrogations, evidence, and other court proceedings. The history and resources sections include writing from organizers, journalists, and attorneys who were centrally involved in the four-decades long struggle. The police data section connects the history of Burge accomplices within the Chicago Police Department to allegations of police misconduct beyond the torture cases.

“Many thanks to PLO, Pozen Center, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, Chicago Torture Justice Center, John Conroy, and the survivors who shared their stories with us and the public. We wish to serve as a resource to journalists, educators, historians, students, activists, legal advocates, and the survivors of torture still fighting their cases and seeking reparations from behind bars.”