Judge: Daley can be named in lawsuit over police torture

August 10, 2011

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(AP/File)

A judge has ruled former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley can be named in a lawsuit alleging police torture under former Commander Jon Burge.

Former Mayor Daley was the Cook County State's Attorney in 1986 when Michael Tillman was arrested for killing Betty Howard. Tillman said police put a gun to his head, poured 7-Up into his nose and suffocated him with a plastic bag until he confessed to the murder.

In 2010, after spending more than 20 years in prison, Tillman was exonerated and he subsequently sued several people he alleges were involved in the torture, ranging from the individual officers to Daley.

In a July decision, first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled for the first time that Daley can be included in Tillman's lawsuit. She ruled that Daley is immune from lawsuits from his time as State's Attorney. She writes that she's uncertain Tillman "has alleged any extreme or outrageous conduct on the part of Mr. Daley as Mayor." Pallmeyer writes in her decision that she would welcome more court filings on that matter.

Several other people have also claimed they were tortured by Chicago police officers serving under Jon Burge. Burge is currently in prison for lying about the torture.