With protests going on across the country over police brutality, Chicago is attempting to do something unprecedented for victims of police attacks.
Chicago approved an unprecedented deal on Wednesday to compensate victims that were tortured while in police custody between the 1970s and 1980s under a former police commander.
Along with a formal apology, the Chicago City Council unanimously agreed to award a total of $5.5 million to living survivors with abuse claims, up to $100,000 per person. Survivors and their family members may also receive counseling and free college tuition in city schools. More than 100 people experienced torture, many were African-Americans from the poverty-stricken South Side.
Under former Chicago police commander Jon Burge’s regime, suspects in his custody experienced electric shocks, burns, and mock executions, along with other violent treatments. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the decision would “bring this dark chapter of Chicago’s history to a close,” highlighting that Burge’s actions are a disgrace.
“To the victims, to the families, to the entire city: This is another step, but an essential step in righting a wrong—removing a stain on the reputation of this great city,” Emanuel said.
Related: Chicago Is Finally Ready to Give Reparations to Police Torture Survivors
Between 1972 and 1991, in an attempt to draw out confessions, Burge ran a group of detectives known as the “Midnight Crew,” which tortured as many as 120 African-American men. Suspects reported that one of Burge’s torture tactics involved a “black box” that was used during questioning. The box had a crank and two wires on each side, which was used to shock the suspects.
The move will surely cause ripples across the counrty. The more victims that pile up, the more cities like Baltimore and New York City will be keeping their eyes on Chicago.