Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  

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.

  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.

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

Illinois Dept. of Revenue Releases Final 2018 Cook County Equalization Factor
Thursday, June 06, 2019
JD Supra

At Cook County Jail, Inmates Relax Their Minds, Bodies With Yoga
Thursday, June 06, 2019
Prison Mindfulness Institute

Skokie drops recent proposal to opt out of Cook County minimum wage ordinance
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Chicago Tribune

JAMA examines rising drug costs • CVS' ambitious transformation • Cook County extends Medicaid contract
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

DCFS says nonprofit misused taxpayer dollars, demands repayment of $100K
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County judge, ripped for ‘insensitive’ racial comments, dumped from bench
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Offers Low Cost Rabies And Microchipping Clinic
Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Masturbating Cook County Jail inmates could cost taxpayers $2 million-plus in legal fees
Tuesday, June 04, 2019

New training and protocols needed at Cook County, task force says after sexual harassment scandal
Friday, May 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County assessor's tax reform bill skids in Springfield
Friday, May 31, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi's property tax reforms stall out in Springfield
Friday, May 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

The North Shore Mosquito Abatement District has found the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in the District this year.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Special to

Cook County to Address Perinatal Health Disparities with $4.8M Grant
Friday, May 24, 2019

Audit Recommends Ways To Overhaul Cook County Property Tax System
Thursday, May 23, 2019

Cock-a-doodle-deferred? After ‘urban farmers’ cry foul, county tables rooster ban
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

From green screen computers to staff shortages, a new audit says Cook County's property tax system needs more resources
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

all news items

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