Imagine you're driving down the road in your car and are stopped by the police. They take you to a police station and place you in a room and begin questioning you about crimes you've never heard of. They say the names of people you don't know, claiming you're responsible for killing them. You're confused because you were just coming home from school, from work, or your girlfriend's house. You know nothing of what they are saying.
Then they begin pulling your hair. They may chain you to a desk or a radiator. They start kicking your back, your stomach and head. After the kicking they bring out an electrical box and start shocking your ears, hands, thighs, or genitals. You plead for a lawyer. Instead the police leave you for hours, denying you food, water, and access to a bathroom. They come back, and the beating continues. Hours pass. Finally, they say you can leave, but on one condition: you must sign a piece of paper that they may not even let you read. You sign it because you are so tired, hungry, in pain, and you just want to go home.
The story above seems like something you would see in a movie about a war-torn country, and certainly doesn't seem like something that could happen in your community at the hands of local police. But that has been the reality for communities of black and brown people in Chicago for decades. If you have not heard about it, you're not alone. The police, mayor and states attorney collude to form elaborate cover-ups so that they can continue their racist agenda.
Who are the survivors
The following 40 individual cases have all been reviewed by the Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission (TIRC). Of these stories:
- 27 survivors were under the age of 25 at the time of their arrest and torture. 8 were younger than 18.
- All 40 survivors are African American or Latinx.
- All of them are sons. All of them were community members. None deserved to be tortured.
We demand that the Governor pardon all torture survivors immediately.
The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression will continue to work on these cases, attend court dates and Torture Commission hearings and stay involved with family members. We will continue to put out more fact sheets as they become available.
What you can do
If you are moved by these stories and would like to find out how to help, contact the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression by phone at 312-939-2750. You can also attend an upcoming court date (link coming soon).