The city of Chicago has begun a $5.5 million payout of reparations to nearly 60 individuals who were tortured by the police in the 1970s and 1980s.
The announcement of the reparation payment was made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday, just as his city is enduring tensions between citizens and the police force over recent events.
The Chicago Police Department is combating a public relations hurdle as the chatter of racist treatment of people of color at the hands of officers has come to light. As reported by Reuters, the accidental fatal shooting Chicago mother Bettie Jones has only broadened the rift that’s currently ripping through the city.
Last May, aldermen in the nation’s third-largest city approved the payments to 57 people tortured by police in the 1970s and 1980s and agreed to make other reparations such as a memorial.
The torture, mostly of blacks, took place under former Commander Jon Burge, who was fired in 1983 and later convicted of lying about police torture in testimony he gave in civil lawsuits.
“We stand together as a city to try and right those wrongs, and to bring this dark chapter of Chicago’s history to a close,” Emanuel said in a statement on Tuesday.
The payments were announced amid almost daily protests over police treatment of minority suspects, following the release of a video in late November showing a white officer fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times.
While the gesture appears to be a step in the right direction in a bid to quell further issues, the Jones family has launched a lawsuit against the city and observers state that the legal backlash will continue on in the coming months as open investigations into police brutality and use of force are ongoing.
SOURCE: Reuters | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty