All posts tagged: chicago police

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.

The New York Times: Measures Announced to Curb Deadly Force by the Chicago Police

Mayor of Chicago Announces Measures to Curb Use of Deadly Force by the Police by Mitch Smith December 30, 2015 CHICAGO — Under intense pressure to change the behavior of the police force, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday announced a series of steps intended to rein in the use of deadly force, promising to buy hundreds of Tasers and to train officers to be less confrontational. […]

Deutsche Welle: A rare win for accountability advocates in Chicago

I was quoted briefly late last week in a Deutsche Welle article, “A rare win for accountability advocates in Chicago,” in connection with my efforts to document the stories and faces of the torture victims of Area 2 and Area 3 from 1973-1991 under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge: For the first time in 35 years, a Chicago officer faces a first-degree murder charge for an on-duty fatality. The period includes scores of police killings and 20 dismissed complaints alleging bias, violence and illegal searches by Van Dyke. It also includes many of the years in which Chicago police ran a torture regime in which more than 200 men, the vast majority of them black, were shocked, beaten and subjected to mock executions. In May, the city council agreed to pay out $5.5 million to survivors of the program, many of whom spent years in prison after confessing under duress to crimes they had not committed. The city also continues to pay Commander Jon Burge, who ran the program, a $3,000 monthly pension. “His …

From the Archive: Small Acts of Civil Disobedience Together Can Make a Big Noise

“Any government that treats its people as the property of the state cannot be tolerated.” – Adam Michnik at the New York Public Library in conversation, “Revolution: A User’s Manual” April 29, 2006 As demonstrations in both Tunisia, which successfully toppled the regime of Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali, and the ongoing siege on the streets of Egyptian cities where the government of (likely) outgoing dictator (sorry, Joe Biden) Hosni Mubarak have shown, small acts of civil disobedience together can make a big noise. From the archive, small acts of civil disobedience. Desmond Lane, 11, with his father, Darick Lane, 38, opponents of the death penalty, during a prayer vigil near the entrance to the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Va. hours before the 9 p.m. execution of John Allen Muhammad, the so-called “Washington sniper” responsible for gunning down 10 and wounding three in the D.C.-area in 2002, on November 10, 2009. Gov. Tim Kaine refused to grant a stay of clemency and the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the request for a stay of …

From the Archive: The Week the World Took to the Streets a Reflection on the Initial and Subsequent Revisions of History and Other Manifestations

This week the world took to the streets. One third of gas stations across France were dry because of fuel blockades initiated by unions and executed by students and other rabble-rousers to protest Nicolas Sarkozy’s attempts to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. In Greece, students objected to austerity measures in an effort to get Greece’s spiraling deficits and debts from becoming even more out of control. On the Western or American front, however, it was pretty quiet. A chance to reflect on the amendments history has made to our own demonstrations, police riots, anarchist takeovers, call it what you will. As a native Chicagoan, no single event meets the category of this historical revisions than the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which depending on your perspective was a counterculture takeover or a police riot. In 2009, 41 years after the fact several law enforcement veterans of the collision decided to hold a reunion on the pretext of fundraising for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. They ordered pizza, they maybe drank a few …