Claims of Torture by Chicago Police Advance

     CHICAGO (CN) – A man exonerated of rape after serving 31 years in prison can sue Chicago over the police torture that led to his false confession, a federal judge ruled.
     Stanley Wrice was wrongfully convicted in 1983 of the rape and deviate sexual assault of K.B. after two police officers handcuffed him to a cell, spread his legs apart, and repeatedly hit him in the groin with a flashlight until he agreed to sign a false confession.
     The officers had been operating under the supervision of then police commander Jon Burge, who was sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison for lying about the police torture of suspects.
     Though Burge denied that officers ever abused suspects in custody, evidence at a 2003 trial showed that he suffocated suspects with plastic bags, shocked them with electrical devices and put loaded guns to their heads.
     In a civil lawsuit last year, Wrice noted that “the miscarriage of justice” in his case “was part of a pattern of systemic torture and physical abuse of African American suspects at the Area 2 and Area 3 police headquarters.”
     Burge’s campaign is said to have wronged as man as 120 people, mostly black men. Chicago has spent more than $85 million to settle claims related to his misconduct, according to reports by the Tribune.
     Sentenced to 100 years in prison in 1983, Wrice claimed that he “languished in prison until December 12, 2013, when the Cook County Special Prosecutor agreed to dismiss all charges against him.”
     In granting him a new trial, Wrice says Cook County Judge Richard Walsh found that Sgt. John Byrne and Detective Peter Dignan committed perjury “when they testified in 1983 that they did not beat plaintiff to secure his inculpatory statement.”
     On Friday, U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo advanced Wrice’s coerced-confession claims against Burge, Police Superintendent Leroy Martin and the city of Chicago.
     “Martin knew about Wrice’s allegations that Sgt. Byrne and Det. Dignan had tortured him, yet Martin failed to investigate those allegations and allowed Wrice’s confession to be used against him at trial,” Bucklo said. “Martin’s apparent ratification of coercive interrogation practices allegedly used to obtain Wrice’s confession makes him a plausible participant in the underlying Fifth Amendment violation that occurred when the confession was used against Wrice at trial.”
     Wrice says police also tortured a man named Bobby Joe Williams until he implicated Wrice in K.B.’s rape.
     The judge found that Wrice “has stated a plausible entitlement … to evidence relating to how the police interrogated Williams.”
     Bucklo did, however, dismiss claims against former Mayor Richard Daley and former Assistant State’s Attorney Bertina Lampkin.

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