Since the first reports of Chicago police torture surfaced a quarter century ago the list has swelled to nearly 200 cases involving dozens of public employees—and still no one has been prosecuted. Now, with the results of a four-year, multimillion dollar investigation due any day, here’s a guide by staff reporter John Conroy to the key figures in the scandal. Some of them may look familiar.
Victims’ lawyers don’t expect the special prosecutor’s report to contain indictments. They speculate that Egan will say that the statute of limitations precludes state charges, and that the prosecutors’ job was made extremely difficult when so many witnesses—police officers, former prosecutors, and perhaps even sitting judges and active prosecutors—took the Fifth rather than testify before the grand jury.
But Egan’s report may provide the pry bar needed to get new trials. It may also lead to federal prosecutions for civil rights violations, violations of the RICO statute, and possibly perjury. The key audience for the report, after an investment of four years and millions of dollars, may be the U.S. attorney, the person who can make a case for prosecutions on the federal level.
An archive of John Conroy's reporting on the police torture scandal is available at chicagoreader.com/policetorture.