Ex-inmate seeks more money for Burge torture claims

Steve Mills (Chicago Tribune) | April 9, 2011

Darrell Cannon was serving a life sentence 25 years ago when he filed a handwritten lawsuit alleging detectives under Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge coerced a murder confession from him by putting a loaded shotgun in his mouth and shocking his genitals with an electric cattle prod.

While Burge would eventually become a notorious figure, Cannon’s lawyer couldn’t imagine at the time that anyone would believe the outrageous allegations. So Cannon settled the lawsuit for just $3,000. Legal fees and expenses ate up more than half, and Cannon sent his mother $500 to fix her roof. That left him all of about $700.

Now that settlement stands as a hurdle to another lawsuit by Cannon over the same torture allegations. Free after almost a quarter-century in prison, he is seeking a multimillion-dollar payout similar to what other alleged torture victims of Burge’s “midnight crew” have received in recent years.

But attorneys for the city are fighting back, saying Cannon already had his payday — even if it was miniscule — and shouldn’t get more money at taxpayers’ expense. In court papers, they contend that Cannon was well aware of other torture allegations against Burge at the time of his initial lawsuit and knew that settling would bar him from ever bringing additional litigation for the same wrongdoing.

Jennifer Hoyle, a spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department, said that if Cannon’s most recent lawsuit is allowed to go to trial, the city would be flooded by plaintiffs seeking to relitigate old claims. That “would be extremely problematic and costly for the city,” she said.

Read more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-burge-lawsuit-04-10-20110409,0,3745745.story

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