Friday, September 13, 2013

Tribune: Emanuel 'Sorry' for Burge torture era

Remember yesterday's post about Mayor Rahm Emanuel or MRE wanting to repair his image in the Black community and then this:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday apologized for an era in the Chicago Police Department during which many African-American men were tortured into false confessions for murders and rapes on the South Side under the direction of disgraced ex-Cmdr. Jon Burge.

The unexpected apology drew praise from longtime critics of City Hall's handling of a scandal that helped eliminate the death penalty in Illinois and will cost taxpayers more than $100 million when the last cases are settled. But as Emanuel seeks to turn the page, Flint Taylor, an attorney who has represented many of the victims, suggested the city should create a $20 million fund to compensate Burge victims who are unable to bring their cases in court.

Emanuel tackled the sensitive topic after a City Council meeting at which aldermen approved an additional $12.3 million to settle lawsuits, this time brought by two African-American men convicted after being abused by detectives working for Burge before he was dismissed from the force 20 years ago.

The mayor called the Burge era a "dark chapter" in the city's history.

"So yes, there has been a settlement, and I do believe this is a way of saying all of us are sorry about what happened here in the city, and closing that period of time, that stain on the city's reputation, its history and now being able to embark on a new part of the city and a new way of actually doing business. And that is not who we are, and we all are one or another obviously sorry."

Asked to clarify if he was indeed apologizing, the mayor added: "Here's what I mean: I am sorry this happened. Let us all now move on."
I'm sure there are many who are affected by this crime particularly those who made the false confessions and were sent to jail, however, one can only wonder if this is one of those forgive moments. Hard to gauge if Black voters will be responsive to this gesture in the future.

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