Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Editorial: No real innocents in Burge’s world of torture

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times

A man named Michael Tillman spent 23 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder, and now the taxpayers of Cook County will pay him $600,000 in restitution.

Who’s to blame for what happened to Tillman?

The quick answer, partially true, is former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his henchmen, who allegedly tortured a false confession out of Tillman, and the assistant state’s attorney who apparently looked the other way.

But that’s too easy.

Truth is, most of us are to blame for Tillman’s wrongful conviction and for many other wrongful confessions just like it. Blame belongs to the cops who Tillman says tortured him, the prosecutors who tacitly condoned torture, the media that barely cried foul and the public that was indifferent.

A culture of complicity ruled the day.

That point is made in an unsettling new play, “My Kind of Town,” written by Chicago Reader reporter John Conroy and currently running at TimeLine Theatre in Lake View. A fictionalized account of the Burge scandal, based on two decades of reporting by Conroy, “My Kind of Town” lets no one off the hook.

How did Burge and his men get away with torturing suspects through much of the 1970s and 1980s? And when the ugly truth finally began to surface, why was there so little public outrage?

It did not help that the first known victim of Burge’s electric shock treatment was the vicious Andrew Wilson, the indisputable killer of two police officers. It’s hard to work up outrage over the mistreatment, even the torture, of a cop killer.

Moreover, almost all of Burge’s victims were black men, who as a group get the short end of the presumption of innocence in American society.

“I think it has a lot to do with a willingness on the part of every society to cordon off some section of the citizenry — an ‘out’ group that is beyond the pale of our compassion, a torturable class to whom anything can be done,” Conroy says in an interview in Backstory, TimeLine Theatre’s play bill. “In this case, that group was African-American men, most with criminal records.”

But Conroy’s play digs deeper. The criminalization of black men as a class, the play suggests, is a prejudice that crosses color lines, a prejudice lurking even in many African Americans. One of the more poignant moments in “My Kind of Town” comes when the parents of a young black man in prison reluctantly admit to each other that, in their heart of hearts, they secretly dread their son coming home — because he scares them, too.

People are afraid. That’s why they turn a blind eye to the most basic violations of human rights. In their desire to feel safer, they condone the suffocation of a murder suspect in the basement of a Chicago Police station and the waterboarding of a terror suspect at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

But at what cost?

“Where do we draw a moral line?” asks PJ Powers, artistic director of TimeLine. “Do we care how to keep the streets safe, how the work gets done, or just that it gets done?”

The DNA of a Jon Burge runs through us all.



Recent Headlines

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER SUFFREDIN
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Assessor’s Office Publicly Releases Residential Assessment Code and Models
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

EDITORIAL: Long in the MWRD pipeline, IG plan needs a yes vote
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Health Cuts Ribbon on Outpatient Center in Arlington Heights
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Celebrate Earth Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Homeowners in Chicago have just a few weeks to get current on their 2017 property taxes - or risk losing their homes. WBEZ’s Odette Yousef reports.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
WBEZ Chiacgo Public Radio

Editorial: The Foxx-Smollett questions for Inspector General Blanchard
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County pet owners warned of spring coyote dangers
Monday, April 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County inspector general to review prosecutors' handling of Jussie Smollett case
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Foxx requests Cook County IG investigation into handling of Jussie Smollett case
Friday, April 12, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A challenge to one of Chicago's biggest draws for companies
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

What Evanston's assessments tell us about the new assessor's new math
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

$3.85 million granted in lawsuit against ex-Cook County forest preserve worker charged in fatal on-the-job crash
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

A Day in the Life of a Cook County Burn Crew
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
WTTW News

EDITORIAL: Splitting up the region’s sanitation board is an idea that stinks
Monday, April 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawmakers Look To Keep 10-Year-Olds Out Of Jail
Thursday, April 04, 2019

Property Tax Workshops Help Homeowners Appeal Assessments
Wednesday, April 03, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Large crowds of Evanston residents turn out to appeal property tax assessments
Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Family of slain cabbie accuses Cook County state's attorney's office of dodging FOIA request
Monday, April 01, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Property Tax Appeal Seminar Set For New Trier Township Residents
Monday, April 01, 2019
Journal and Topics Online

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP