Thursday, July 20, 2006

Da Man is Getting Away With More Crimes: No Suprise to some of Us

Lack of charges no surprise to alleged torture victims

July 20, 2006


Thirty-three years later, the bare wires twisted into his leg irons, the little black box and the sickening grinding sound of the hand crank are all distinct in Anthony Holmes' mind.

And in his nightmares, Holmes sees burly Jon Burge, with wavy slicked-back hair, grinning as the infamous Chicago Police commander administers the electric shocks. "It felt like a thousand needles all at one time," Holmes said Wednesday.

But as he learned that neither Burge nor any of his subordinates will face criminal charges after a four-year investigation, Holmes expressed no surprise.

"You think they are going to charge Burge with something and let him pull everyone else down?" Holmes said. He was convicted of murder in 1974, he says, based on a false, tortured confession. "That's why they ain't gonna let it happen."

Holmes' reaction was typical of several alleged Burge victims and their families Wednesday.

'Didn't look for a remedy here'

"We understood what [Special Prosecutor Edward] Egan was going to do -- he was going to continue to keep stuff covered up," said David Bates, who says Burge tortured him in 1983. "We didn't look for a remedy here."

But Bates, addressing dozens of reporters at a downtown law office, appeared weary and frustrated. "I'm at a loss for words to look at this [expletive] report and to hear that torture existed but that there was no way we can deal with it," Bates said.

'If there's a hell, he's going'

Mary Johnson, 73, mother of alleged torture victim Michael Johnson, also appeared with Bates at a press conference that included representatives from the MacArthur Justice Center and the People's Law Office. Johnson said she suspects the reason she and other victims' families continue to be denied justice is because "people just don't care."

"Guess what? My son is black. Guess what? His mother is poor. We are the minority," she said.

Johnson said she has no idea if Burge might one day end up behind bars. "But I know that if there's a hell, he's going."

In the meantime, Holmes said his nightmares will continue.

"They are hell," said Holmes, who lives in Joliet. "It's like falling out of a plane and knowing you are gonna hit the ground and knowing you can't stop it. It's like being in a dark place with no way out."

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