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Chicago City Wire

Friday, April 10, 2020

Judge rules former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge's supervisory position not relevant in civil action


By W.J. Kennedy | Jan 29, 2020


A federal judge has ruled that former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge’s supervisory position is irrelevant in a civil action brought by a man convicted in the rape and torture of a Chicago woman in 1982. 

Stanley Wrice, 28 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to 100 years after confessing to the crime. He was released in 2013 by a judge who agreed with his allegations of being tortured into the confession.

The Jan. 27 ruling granting summary judgment to Burge by Judge Harry Leinenweber of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is the second victory in recent days for police officers linked in lawsuits to Burge, who was convicted in 2010 of obstruction of justice and perjury in charges related to allegations that he tortured suspects. Burge died in 2018.

On Jan. 16, Cook County Judge William Hooks rejected claims by George Anderson, who is serving a life sentence for the 1991 killings of two children, that he was beaten by officers under Burge’s supervision.

“Anderson has falsely claimed to have ridden on the Burge torture bus, and he knows it,” Hooks said in the case.

Besides Burge, the Wrice lawsuit names former officers John Byrne and Peter Dignan. Both were supervised by Burge.

“Wrice claims that two Chicago police officers, John Byrne and Peter Dignan, personally tortured him and the witness who implicated Wrice," Leinenweber wrote. "Byrne and Dignan allegedly did this ‘acting under the direct supervision’ of Burge.”

But the judge ruled that Wrice “has not presented evidence that Burge worked the day of his interrogation, that some unique circumstances of the case meant that Burge would be particularly likely to keep close tabs, or anything else beyond general pattern and practice evidence. For this reason, Wrice’s supervisory liability claim cannot survive.”

In 2014, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Byrne rejected Wrice’s petition for a Certificate of Innocence (COI) – finding his claims in the face of overwhelming evidence “absurd.” A COI would have bolstered Wrice’s civil lawsuit.  

But during the discovery phase of the lawsuit, a woman testified that when she was 14, Wrice beat and raped her. She claimed her first three children were the result of rapes by Wrice

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Eastern Division of the Northern District of IllinoisChicago Department of Police/Police

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