Vox Populi

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A Brief History of Torture by Chicago Police (1972-1991)

Darrell Cannon was tortured by three Chicago Police Department detectives at a remote site on Chicago’s South Side. Over the course of a day, they pressed a cattle prod to his testicles and put it into his mouth. The officers attempted to lift him off the ground by handcuffs secured behind his back, contorting his upper body. They repeatedly made him believe that they had loaded a shotgun and rammed in into his mouth, breaking his tooth.

“These are all things they enjoyed doing,” Darrell Cannon told Amnesty International, his voice cracking.

He spent 24 years in prison on the basis of a coerced confession that was tortured out of him – ten of those years suffering further degradation in solitary confinement at Tamms Supermax prison.

Combating torture has long been part of Amnesty International’s legacy – and until more than half of the people in the world no longer live in fear of torture, it will continue to be our future.

Listening to Darrell’s story is beyond difficult. Watching a man’s face crumble as he returns to moments of unimaginable brutality in an empty corner of the city will leave you with a hard rock of rage and sadness in the pit of your stomach.But listening to Darrell’s story is also critically important, because it is not unique. He is one of more than 100 men and women tortured under the direction of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge between 1972 and 1991.

Sixteen torture survivors have since been exonerated and released, others served out decades in prison on the basis of coerced confessions. Today, at least 19 men are still behind bars, all of whom maintain that they gave coerced confessions after being tortured, including being suffocated, electrocuted, beaten, burned, subject to mock execution or otherwise brutalized by Burge and his detectives. None of the men have ever received the reparations necessary to become physically, emotionally or mentally whole…. [continue reading]


— by Jasmine Heiss writing for Amnesty International


Darrell Cannon

Darrell Cannon


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