torture cops: Kenneth Boudreau, John Halloran & James O'Brien 
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Kenneth Boudreau, was a detective and sergeant of the Chicago Police Department, serving under Jon Burge and beyond his command at Areas 1, 2 and 3 from 1986 to 2014. Boudreau played a principal role in forcing confessions from the Englewood Four teens, and has used similar techniques to obtain fabricated confessions from nearly a hundred other known torture cases. Boudreau has worked with many other detectives to obtain tortured confessions, including James Cassidy, Richard Paladino, and William Foley in the Englewood Four case, as well as Michael Kill, Anthony Maslanka, Daniel McWeeny, Michael Clancy, and many more. Boudreau has been named in the most number of cases with his partners, John Halloran and James O’Brien.


Both John Halloran and James O’Brien worked as detectives at Area 1, 2, and 3 from 1985 to 2017. Boudreau, Halloran, O’Brien had an established pattern of systematic abuse and coercion during their time at Area 2, including physical and psychological torture of defendants, torture and coercion of witnesses, and threatening the safety of family members and loved ones of defendants. Together, these three detectives have tortured and thus extracted wrongful statements obtained through coercion or torture of nearly a hundred (known) survivors. The cases that follow are just a handful of examples that demonstrate their pattern of torture and techniques of coercion utilized by these detectives.


Charles Johnson, Larod Styles, LaShawn Ezell, and Troshawn McCoy, otherwise known as the “Marquette Park Four” were teenagers when they were subjected to hours of torture by Detectives Boudreau, Halloran, and O’Brien. The teens were denied access to counsel or their guardians, isolated and held for a long period of time, and threatened into making false confessions. They have since been exonerated due to fingerprint evidence. This pattern of misconduct did not begin or end with the Marquette Park Four.


Many others have testified that Boudreau, Halloran, and O’Brien used similar patterns of abuse to acquire false confessions. 15-year-old Johnny Plummer was held for 36 hours without his parents, did not receive food, and was beaten until Detectives Boudreau, Halloran, William Foley, and Michael Clancy obtained a false confession. Boudreau and others did the same to Jonathan Tolliver, a 15-year-old juvenile, who was held and interrogated for 24 hours and denied the right to contact his family, was not read his rights, and did not receive food. The detectives coerced witness statements to incriminate Tolliver, utilizing similar torture techniques, such as withholding insulin from a diabetic witness and coercing false statements.


Others framed by Boudreau and his cohorts were not tortured themselves, but had witnesses tortured and/or coerced to testify against them. In Deshawn Gardner’s case, for example, Boudreau and Halloran tortured Sheila Crosby, Lance Robinson (also named as “Roberson”), and Timothy McCoy to make statements that Gardner committed the murder of Steven Green. Detectives threatened Crosby to take away her children unless she testified against Gardner; threatened Robinson to charge him as an accessory to the murder unless he testified against Gardner; and McCoy’s handwritten statement was obtained after he had been threatened that the detectives would send him to the hospital or jail unless he testified against Gardner. Survivors like Gardner had their TIRC claims dismissed as they were not tortured themselves, and their cases do not meet the definition of torture as laid out by the TIRC’s jurisdiction. 


Boudreau and others tortured Anthony Jakes and coerced Ralph Watson into giving false witness statements incriminating Arnold Day in two murders. Arnold Day was also tortured by Boudreau, Foley, and Judd Evans into signing a false confession written by an Assistant State’s Attorney in which he admitted to the murders. Day was beaten, kicked, and threatened to be thrown out the window. Boudreau, along with Michael Kill, tortured and threatened 15-year-old Anthony Jakes into signing a statement incriminating Day of murder and into confessing as an accessory to the murder. During the 16-hour interrogation, Jakes was slapped, punched, kicked, burned with cigarettes, and threatened with the recruitment of gang members to kill his family. Both Arnold Day and Anthony Jakes were found as credible cases by the TIRC and have been exonerated.


Many others have testified that Boudreau, Halloran, and/or O’Brien have beaten survivors and threatened their family members and loved ones as methods of acquiring false confessions. Tyrone Reyna, who was 16-years old at the time of his arrest, was punched, kicked, and threatened by Detectives Boudreau and Halloran. The detectives threatened his family and girlfriend, and tortured him until he signed a false confession. One of Reyna’s co-defendants, Nick Escamilla was tortured and had his loved ones threatened as well. Detectives Boudreau, Halloran, and O’Brien physically tortured Escamilla and threatened to send his pregnant wife to jail and to have DCFS take away his children. After 18 hours of torture, Escamilla signed a statement incriminating himself. Reyna and Escamilla’s co-defendant, Miguel Morales, was also beaten in his interrogation, but did not sign a statement. Instead, the detectives coerced Morales’ friend into stating that Miguel had confessed to the murder over the phone. Stanley Miller was threatened that if he did not confess, Detective Halloran would charge his girlfriend with murder and take away their children. Mr. Miller claims that Detectives James O’Brien and Halloran failed to read him his Miranda rights and denied him counsel. He was confined in a small, windowless interrogation room for 55 hours, during which he could not use the bathroom or sleep, and was only fed once or twice. After sustained physical and emotional abuse, Mr. Miller gave a videotaped confession that led to his conviction.


Choking is another common practice in allegations of torture by Detectives Boudreau, O’Brien, and Halloran. Derrick Flewellen, Arnold Day (both exonerated), and Stanley Miller were choked. Marcellous Pittman was stripped of his clothes and was beaten, punched, and choked. Harold Blalock’s TIRC claims stated that he was choked to unconsciousness, causing him to urinate on himself. 


Boudreau and his colleagues are also known for targeting juveniles with low IQs, learning disabilities, and mental illness. Boudreau obtained a murder confession from Alfonzia Neal, who had an IQ in the 40s and waived his Miranda rights. Boudreau and Halloran obtained confessions from two mentally ill juveniles, Fred Ewing and Darnell Stokes. In 1998, a judge threw out a confession Boudreau had obtained from a 13-year-old with a verbal IQ of 59, and prosecutors dropped the charges. Boudreau and Halloran coerced Dan Young, with an IQ of 56 to implicate himself in a rape and murder. Young was exonerated due to DNA evidence, and the City of Chicago paid $700,000 to the Estate of Dan Young. 


Boudreau has been named in two misconduct lawsuits that cost the city of Chicago $8,000,000. Halloran and O’Brien have been named in three misconduct lawsuits that cost the city $7,050,000.  



  Swift v. Boudreau, Case No. 2012-L-012995 (Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois 2013), First Amended Complaint

 MacArthur Justice Center. (2018, February 12). Wrongfully Convicted “Marquette Park Four” Sue City of Chicago, Chicago Police Officers [Press release].

 Coleman v. City of Chicago, Case No. 18 cv 00998 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 8, 2018) 

 Jakes v. City of Chicago, Case No. 19 cv 02204 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 1, 2019)

 DeShawn Gardner TIRC Claim No. 2018.580-G, Case Disposition, Dec. 18, 2018

 People v. Gardner, No. 1-11-0341 (IL App 1st. Jan. 28, 2013)

 Day v. Boudreau, Case No. 19 cv 07286 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 5, 2019)

 Arnold Day TIRC Claim No. 2011.095-D, Case No. 2011.095-D

 Anthony Jakes TIRC Claim No. 2011.035-J, Case Disposition, Mar. 24, 2014

 Anthony Jakes - National Registry of Exonerations. (2018, May 16). National Registry of Exonerations.

 Arnold Day - National Registry of Exonerations. (2018, December 20). National Registry of Exonerations.

 Possley, B. M., & Armstrong, S. M. A. K. (2001, December 17). Veteran detective’s murder cases unravel. Chicago Tribune.

 Masterson, M. (2019, November 5). Chicago Man Who Says He Was Tortured Into False Confession Now Suing City, Police Officers. WTTW News.

 Harold Blalock TIRC Claim No. 2014.232-B, Case Disposition, Aug. 19, 2020

 Swift v. Boudreau, Case No. 2012-L-012995 (Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois 2013), First Amended Complaint

 Kenneth Boudreau Settlements. (n.d.). Chicago Reporter.

 John Halloran Settlements. (n.d.). Chicago Reporter.

 James O’Brien Settlements. (n.d.). Chicago Reporter