All posts filed under: Illinois

Access to Justice: Art Works Projects at the Chicago Public Library

“Less than one percent of those arrested and held in police custody in Chicago in 2013 had a lawyer present, according to Chicago Police Data (source: CNN, May 5, 2016). What challenges face the Chicago community in providing equal justice to all, and how are advocates addressing issues of equal treatment and rule of law globally?” Panelists: Sheila Bedi, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, Northwestern University School of Law Flint Taylor, civil rights attorney, People’s Law Office Amanda Rivkin, photographer, Howard Buffett Fund for Women Journalists, International Women’s Media Foundation Moderator: Leslie Thomas, outgoing Executive Director, Art Works Projects Broadcast: CAN-TV (local Chicago public access)

Columbia Journalism Review: A photojournalist tells the stories of Chicago police torture victims

Jackie Spinner, a professor at Columbia College who has invited me to speak to her international reporting classes several times and ex-Washington Post correspondent in Baghdad and elsewhere, wrote the first little bit of press about my current oral history and portrait project on victims of Chicago municipal police torture under former Commander Jon Burge. Burge was on active duty with the Chicago Police Department from 1973-1991 and subsequently fired in 1993 after an array of crimes involving the abuse of suspects in custody were exposed on his watch, including but not limited to beatings, burning and electro-torture. Graciously, Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) has ran a couple of the press photographs including one of Marvin Reeves, a man so gentle he was like an uncle when we spoke for nearly two hours in his sister’s Bronzeville apartment. He received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of Chicago for the injustices done to him. From Jackie’s article: Now Rivkin, who grew up in the city, plans to spend the next year photographing these men and …

Burge Victims Speak (in progress)

“Torture can be an open secret in a democratic society. Apparently, successive Chicago police superintendents suppressed internal investigations that revealed torture, successive state’s attorneys knew of the torture but refused to investigate, and the state’s Felony Review Unit knowingly elicited and used tortured confessions. Approximately one-third of the current Cook County criminal court judges are former assistant state’s attorneys or Area 2 detectives who were involved in the torture cases. Courts and the public will also look the other way.” – Darius Rejali, Torture and Democracy

IWMF Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists Grant for “Burge Victims Speak”

Thrilled to announce for the first time in my life, I am being given a grant by the International Women’s Media Fund (IWMF) Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists to stay home and work. I’ll be spending the next year at least in Chicago interviewing and photographing survivors of municipal police torture under former Commander Jon Burge, who imported techniques such as electrotorture which he learned as a military police officer in Vietnam onto the streets of Chicago for nearly 20 years to force confessions from 1972 until he was suspended from the force in 1991 and fired in 1993. He later served four years for perjury but still receives a full city pension. Very special thanks to everyone who has lent time, expertise, knowledge, and patience to this project so far, there are many of you to thank and a few of you who would rather I didn’t but know you have helped tremendously and I am filled with gratitude.

Donald Trump, Jerry Springer + American Youth

This image from Donald Trump’s rally in Bloomington, Illinois last Sunday was the moment my headache went through the roof and I left. Little boys film themselves taunting little girls who were being kicked out for protesting. This is a scary thing to witness when children turn against each other on the encouragement of an American presidential candidate. Today after successes in Florida, Illinois and Missouri but defeat in the critical state of Ohio to Governor John Kasich leaving open the prospect of a brokered convention, Trump threatened riots if he does not get the nomination. This is not maturity worthy of nuclear codes nor is promoting violence domestically presidential. The forces of politically motivated violence are being set in motion by a candidate whose campaign does not require him to leave the tarmac or answer questions from media beyond the scope of prearranged interviews. His rallies resemble “The Jerry Springer Show,” causing Springer himself to remark, “If they are going to do my show, they should start paying me… It’s disgraceful.”