In 2015, a group of Black Chicagoans won $5.5 million as reparations for torture suffered under the brutal reign of police commander Jon Burge’s “Midnight Crew” a few decades ago.
Six years later, their victory sits amidst a lack of change they wanted to see.
Gregory Banks was one survivor who exposed Burge’s torture. He recounted that in 1983, Burge’s associates stuffed a gun in his mouth, beat him, and suffocated him, promising, “We have something special for niggers.”
All to get him to falsify a murder confession.
But even after their reparations, Banks and other survivors have pointed out that, since their torture, prisons are still full of “victims of police abuse, coerced confessions, illicit surveillance, [and] prosecutorial misconduct.”
Today, in Chicago and the rest of the country, police killings and torture tactics make the news on a regular basis. Last year, at still-standing torture site Homan Square, fellow Burge survivor Mark Clements felt similarly, decrying, “What have we seen different from 1981 to 2020?”
How can you make amends for a harm that still continues?
Of course the Black Chicagoans that received reparations deserved them. But they, and we, deserve much more: to live in a world where police torture and brutality doesn't exist. And the only way we can ensure that is to get rid of this white supremacist policing system entirely.