Chicago announced it will pay a total of up to $5.5 million to dozens of people tortured by the city's police in the 70s and 80s in addition to other reparations such as a memorial to torture victims under an ordinance approved by the city council on Wednesday.
It is estimated that 120 people were tortured by former police chief Jon Burge and his detectives but many of them have since died.
Chicago has long struggled to build trust between police and minority communities. The approval of the reparations comes at a time of increased scrutiny on police use of force in the United States, particularly against minorities.
"We are strong enough to say we were wrong," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said after the vote. "Chicago will finally confront its past and come to terms with it."
And yet illegal police conduct is still alive and well in the city. It runs an off the books detention site where prisoners continue to be tortured and held without legal rights.
The facility is a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, and has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.
Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.
The fact this facility exists shows just how corrupt Chicago's mayor and police department still are. While they may have paid a settlement the practices that caused it are alive and well today.