Torture Machine : Racism and Police Violence in Chicago
by Taylor, Flint







1 Murder by Darkness: The Assassination of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark
1(34)
2 The Wilson Case: And He Just Kept on Cranking and Cranking
35(17)
3 Street Files and Important Trials
52(13)
4 The First Wilson Civil Rights Trial
65(22)
5 The Cover-Up Begins to Unravel
87(16)
6 Deja Vu
103(32)
7 The Fight for Justice Broadens
135(13)
8 Out of the Court and into the Streets
148(11)
9 Fire Burge!
159(16)
10 Burge on Trial Again
175(19)
11 A Parade and an Appeal
194(9)
12 The Vigilante, Aaron Patterson, and a Judgment against Burge
203(9)
13 The Marcus Wiggins Case: "They're Supposed to Serve and Protect, Right?"
212(9)
14 Decisions, Decisions
221(13)
15 And It Seemed Like They Blew My Brains Out
234(11)
16 Those Idiots from the People's Law Office
245(23)
17 A Landmark Victory, a Plea, and a Tragedy
268(12)
18 Special Prosecutors, Clemencies, and Pardons
280(13)
19 Free at Last
293(9)
20 Freedom Denied
302(11)
21 An Open Secret
313(9)
22 The Daley Show
322(4)
23 Broadening the Struggle against Police Torture
326(7)
24 The Tale of Two Reports
333(11)
25 Beyond All Reasonable Doubt
344(16)
26 The Art of the No Deal
360(10)
27 Hearings, Hearings, and More Hearings
370(12)
28 The Feds Come Marching In
382(11)
29 The Worm Turns
393(9)
30 Exonerations
402(8)
31 Burge in the Dock
410(16)
32 A Modicum of Justice
426(12)
33 Daley the Defendant
438(15)
34 On What Planet
453(7)
35 Reparations Now!
460(13)
36 Never Before in America
473(9)
37 Coming Full Circle
482(14)
38 Wilson Walks
496(12)
Epilogue508(3)
Acknowledgments511(5)
Index516


With his colleagues at the People’s Law Office (PLO), Taylor has argued landmark civil rights cases that have exposed corruption and cover-ups within the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and throughout the city’s corrupt political machine.

The Torture Machine takes the reader from the 1969 murders of Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton and Panther Mark Clark—and the historic, thirteen-years of litigation that followed—through the dogged pursuit of commander Jon Burge, the leader of a torture ring within the CPD that used barbaric methods, including electric shock, to elicit false confessions from suspects.

Joining forces with community activists, torture survivors and their families, other lawyers, and local reporters, Taylor and the PLO gathered evidence from multiple cases to bring suit against the CPD officers and the City of Chicago.  As the struggle expanded beyond the torture scandal to the ultimately successful campaign to end the death penalty in Illinois, and obtained reparations for many of the torture survivors, it set human rights precedents that have since been adopted across the United States.





Flint Taylor is a founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago. He was one of the lawyers who represented the families of slain Chicago Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in the landmark civil rights case against the Chicago police, the Cook County state’s attorney, and the FBI’s COINTELPRO agents. For more than thirty years he has represented numerous survivors of Chicago police torture in criminal and civil cases, as well as in seeking reparations. He was also co-counsel in the civil rights case brought by the victims of KKK and Nazi terror in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1979. He is still actively fighting against, and writing about, systemic police violence and racial injustice as a senior partner at the PLO, which will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in August 2019.





*Starred Review* When the People's Law Office (PLO), which Taylor founded, took up the legal challenge to the 1969 killing of Chicago Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark by the FBI, it set in motion nearly 50 years of challenging questionable law enforcement practices. In this compelling book, Taylor details the high-profile Black Panther case and the 31 years the PLO pursued another notorious situation, the use of torture by Chicago police to secure false confessions. The legal pursuit of Chicago police detective Jon Burge and his accomplices crossed paths with the ambitions of Chicago politicians, including mayors Jane Byrne and Richard M. Daley. Taylor chronicles the winding course of the investigation and prosecution, including conflicts with a biased judge, surreptitious help from a police officer PLO dubbed Deep Badge, and the unveiling of the police practice of "street files," unofficial reports not made available to defense attorneys as required by the U.S. Constitution, files that might have exonerated the accused. Through a long series of attempts in a quest that gathered more and more accusers, the PLO steadily built a case that ultimately triumphed with numerous exonerations and a far-reaching influence on international human rights. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.





A founding partner of the Chicago-based People's Law Office recounts his career fighting on behalf of victims of police malfeasance, especially torture and wrongful death."If the torture machine teaches one lesson above all, it is that torture is as American as apple pie," writes Taylor, whose long career is a catalog of hard-fought battles for racial justice waged in Chicago's courtrooms. In this personal narrative, Taylor offers no introductions or preludes, plunging straight into the heart of the beast: a morass of police corruption and conspiracy dating back to the December 1969 assassinations of Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Discussing his arrival on the scene of what authorities were selling as a police raid gone wrong, the author writes, "shock and grief soon met with the dawning realization that the police claims of a shootout were bold-faced lies. We were looking at a murder scene." Thus begins the harrowing tale of the author's 13-year crusade w ith the PLO "to uncover and expose the truth about that murderous raid." The author also chronicles the next three decades spent seeking justice for survivors of a conspiracy of brutal torture carried out by police during their investigations. Sparing no details, Taylor reveals the police force's reign of terror and the Gestapo-like interrogation tactics administered by Lt. Jon Burge and his squad of "confederates." For 20 years, using a variety of tactics, including suffocation, pistol-whipping, and electric shock—all under a cloak of secrecy—Burge and company beat confessions from dozens of victims. The author uncovers stories of secret files, a code of silence among police officers, and complicity among politicians, and he shows how he and the PLO worked for years to free prisoners whose incarcerations were based on torture confessions while winning "more than $35,000,000 in settlements, verdicts, and reparations for more than sixty torture survivors." Taylor i lluminates in graphic detail the scars caused by some of the worst elements of law enforcement in a city perpetually beset by violence. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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