Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming response for this event, registration has now closed. If you have any questions, please call 312.422.5580 or send us an email.
Join us for a special Café Society conversation with investigative reporter John Conroy, who wrote exclusively on the Burge trial for the WBEZ Blog. “The prosecution came 37 years after [Jon] Burge first used electric shock to interrogate Anthony Holmes and decades after county prosecutors had evidence that serious crimes had been and were being committed by Burge and detectives under his command,” says Conroy.
Find out more about the evolution of Chicago’s torture scandal from the reporter who broke the story about the “House of Screams” two decades ago. Following a conversation with Conroy, participants will have the opportunity to break down into smaller facilitated groups to dig deeper and explore what can be done to ensure fair practices and accountability in the criminal justice system.
From “Burge Trial: Guilty” by John Conroy on the WBEZ Blog.
“The prosecution came 37 years after Burge first used electric shock to interrogate Anthony Holmes and decades after county prosecutors had evidence that serious crimes had been and were being committed by Burge and detectives under his command. Even as a dozen men awaited execution on the basis of suspect confessions, county prosecutors declined to investigate whether those confessions had been coerced and whether detectives had perjured themselves in testifying about how those statements had been extracted….Thus while scores of felonies allegedly committed by Burge in interrogation rooms were not prosecutable by Fitzgerald due to the expiration of the statute of limitations….the U.S. Attorney was able to use less than 60 words from two documents to get a conviction that many thought would never come.”
Questions for consideration: How could something like this happen in Chicago or any community? Who’s responsible? Could it happen again? What can be done to ensure fair practices and accountability in the criminal justice system, especially at the stage of arrest and interrogation?
Want to learn more?
- Police Torture in Chicago
- Jon Burge: torturer, hero or scapegoat?
- Burge jury recesses after deliberating about an hour
More about John Conroy
John Conroy is the author of two books, Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture and Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life. His writing has been published in many newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Boston Globe, Mother Jones, Granta, the Village Voice, and the Chicago Reader. He has also reported on criminal justice and other topics for WBEZ.
Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People attempts to explain how an ordinary person becomes a torturer, what happens to torture victims, and how societies justify torture when it appears. The book was one of five finalists for the prestigious Helen Bernstein Award, given by the New York Public Library for excellence in journalism. The New York Times praised the book’s “inspired reporting,” the Chicago Tribune found the book “gripping….audacious….troubling,” and Newsday’s critic wrote that it was “passionate . . . intelligent . . . insightful.”
Conroy is also a recipient of the Studs Terkel Award for his “longstanding excellence in reporting about Chicago’s diverse communities,” the Chicago Association of Black Journalists Award, the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, and the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism.
If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580. For parking locations near the facility, please visit ChicagoParkingMap.com.