United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Scott, Plaintiff, represented by Lawrence Craig Redmond,
Attorney at Law.
Of Chicago, Defendant, represented by Ellen Wight Mclaughlin,
City Of Chicago Department Of Law.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CASTILLO, Chief District Judge.
case addresses the aftermath of one of the darkest periods in
Chicago Police Department ("CPD") history-the
torture and abuse of more than one hundred suspects from 1972
to 1991 by now-disgraced CPD Commander Jon Burge
("Burge") and his subordinates. On May 6, 2015,
over twenty years after Burge's firing, the Chicago City
Council (the "City Council") passed the Reparations
for Burge Torture Victims Ordinance (the
"Ordinance"), which created a $5.5 million fund for
the survivors of the police torture. Plaintiff Marvin Scott
("Scott") brings his complaint against the City of
Chicago (the "City") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1983
alleging that the Ordinance violates the Equal Protection
Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to
the U.S. Constitution. (R. 6, Compl.) Presently before the
Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint. (R.
14, Mot.) For the reasons stated below, Defendant's
motion is granted.
Burge's Brutality: 1972-1991
Plaintiff's complaint does not delve into the crimes of
Burge and his subordinates, a very brief history is necessary
to put Plaintiff's claims into context. Burge
"joined the CPD in 1970 and rose to commanding officer
of the violent crimes section in the 1980s, but his career
was marked by accusations from over one hundred individuals
who claimed that he and officers under his command tortured
suspects in order to obtain confessions throughout the 1970s
and 1980s." United States v. Burge, 711 F.3d
803, 807 (7th Cir. 2013). In fact, "Burge presided over
an interrogation regime where suspects were suffocated with
plastic bags, electrocuted until they lost consciousness,
held down against radiators, and had loaded guns pointed at
their heads during rounds of Russian roulette."
Id. at 806. These interrogations took place in Area
2 and Area 3 of the CPD headquarters. People v.
Wrice, 962 N.E.2d 934, 944 (111. 2012). Eventually,
Burge was suspended in 1991 and fired in 1993.
Burge, 711 F.3d at 807; see also Moore
v. Burge, 771 F.3d 444, 448 (7th Cir. 2014). Many years
later the Circuit Court of Cook County appointed special
prosecutors to investigate the allegations of torture.
Burge, 711 F.3d at 807. However, due to the statute
of limitations, these special prosecutors never brought
charges against Burge for the brutality that he inflicted.
Id. In 2006, the State's Attorney released a
report concluding that Burge and his colleagues had engaged
in systematic torture of suspects. Wrice, 962 N.E.2d
at 944-45 (summarizing the report's conclusions). While
Burge was never convicted of the crimes that occurred at Area
2 and Area 3, he was convicted of perjury and obstruction of
justice for falsely denying under oath that he and detectives
under his command had engaged in torture and abuse and that
he was aware of this torture and physical abuse of suspects.
Burge, 711 F.3d at 803 (affirming conviction).
Ordinance and Resolution
6, 2015, the City Council unanimously passed the Burge
Reparations-Resolution (the "Resolution"), which
extended a formal apology to the victims of Burge's
torture. CHICAGO, ILL., BURGE REPARATIONS RESOLUTION
SR2015-256 (2015). The Resolution recognized that Burge
"was fired in 1993 for torturing a confession from a
murder suspect" and that "[m]ore than 100
African-Americans who were detained by the Chicago Police
Department between 1972 and 1991 have accused Burge or police
officers working under his command of engaging in acts of
torture and physical abuse." Id. at 1. The
Resolution extended the following apology to the victims:
The City Council wishes to acknowledge this exceedingly sad
and painful chapter in Chicago's history, and to formally
express its profound regret for any and all shameful
treatment of our fellow citizens that occurred; and
The City Council recognizes that words alone cannot
adequately convey the deep regret and remorse that we and our
fellow citizens feel for any and all harm that was inflicted
by Burge and the officers under his command. And yet, words
do matter. For only words can end the silence about wrongs
that were committed and injustices that were perpetrated, and
enable us, as a City, to take the steps necessary to ensure
that similar acts never again occur in Chicago; and
The apology we make today is offered with the hope that it
will open a new chapter in the history of our great City, a
chapter marked by healing and an ongoing process of
Just as a wrongful act followed by an apology, forgiveness
and redemption is part of the shared human experience, so too
is the widely held belief that actions speak louder than
Id. The Resolution also promised that all of the
individuals who have a credible claim of torture or physical
abuse and members of their immediate family would be given,
among other things, free tuition at the City Colleges of
Chicago, specialized counseling services, job placement in
programs offered by the City, and access to a variety of
health-services programs. Id. at 1-2.
addition to the Resolution, the City Council also passed the
Ordinance, which put teeth into the City's apology.
CHICAGO, III., REPARATIONS FOR BURGE TORTURE VICTIMS
ORDINANCE SO 2015-2687 (2015). Specifically, the Ordinance
established a $5.5 million fund in which "[e]ach
individual with a credible claim" may receive "up
to $100, 000 [in financial reparations] minus the amount of
[any other] prior compensation" the victim has received.
Id. Â§ 3(a). The "[proportionate share" is
"determined by dividing the total amount in the Fund by
the total number of eligible claims." Id. The
Ordinance states that "any Burge victim is eligible for
financial reparations, " but also sets forth a series of
criteria to be considered when "determining whether a
claim is a credible claim." Id. Â§ 3(b).
"Burge victim" is defined as "any individual
with a credible claim of torture or physical abuse by Jon
Burge or one of the officers under his command at Area 2 or
Area 3 Police Headquarters between May 1, 1972 and November
30, 1991." Id. Â§ 2. A "credible
claim" is defined as a "claim of torture or
physical abuse by Jon Burge or one of the officers under his
command at Area 2 or Area 3 Police Headquarters between May
1, 1972 and November 30, 1991." Id. The
Ordinance also sets forth a multilevel process of review by
attorneys for the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials
organization (CTJM), the City, and a designated and
independent third party for determining which individuals are
entitled to financial reparations. Id. Â§ 3(d)-(f).
With this history and legislative framework in mind, the
Court now turns to Plaintiff's complaint.
alleges that on May 10, 1993, he was "remove[d] from
[the] Cook County Jail by Chicago police detectives and taken
to Area #2, " in order to be questioned "for the
murder of Darren Payton and also to be a participant in a
line-up." (R. 6, Compl. Â¶ 6.) Plaintiff alleges that
during the interrogation "he was beaten by Detectives
McDermott and Boylan"-detectives who were under
Burge's supervision. ( Id. ) As a result of the
beating, Plaintiff alleges that he not only sustained
injuries to his eye and ribs, but he also "made a
coerced confession." ( Id. )
upon these events, on June 16, 2015, Plaintiff applied for
reparations under the Ordinance. ( Id. Â¶ 7.)
Plaintiff filled out a claim form and sent the accompanying
documents supporting his claim to Professor Daniel T. Coyne
at Chicago-Kent College of Law. ( Id. ) Shortly
thereafter, Coyne informed Plaintiff that he had reviewed
Plaintiff's claim form and transcripts, and had
determined that "they provide the basic information to
open an inquiry into Plaintiff's] claim to see if
Plaintiff is eligible for reparations under" the
Ordinance. ( Id. Â¶ 8.) However, Plaintiff's
claim was ...