CHICAGO (CN) – Former Chicago police Commander Jon Burge was sentenced to 4½ years in prison for lying about the police torture of suspects. Burge denied that officers ever abused suspects in custody, but 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.
Burge, 63, of Apollo Beach, Fla., was convicted in June 2010 of two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury for his false answers in the 2003 civil case.
Burge, a 23-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, was fired in 1993 over abuse allegations. More than a decade later, special prosecutors were appointed to investigate police torture; the 4-year investigation found that the abuses were outside the statute of limitations.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the sentencing “put to rest the decades of denials that torture of suspects in police custody occurred. This sentence delivers a measure of justice, which Burge obstructed for so long.”
The police torture led then-Illinois Gov. George Ryan to place a moratorium on the state’s death penalty. Ryan pardoned four of Burge’s alleged victims.