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The [Thursday] Papers

"A former Chicago Police detective said Wednesday that decades ago he heard screams emanating from the old Area 2 headquarters shortly after the arrest of a man who later accused disgraced former Cmdr. Jon Burge of torturing him," the Sun-Times reports in the biggest news story of the day.

(Our Blackhawks coverage is here.)

"The former detective also said he saw another one of Burge's alleged victims covered in footprints while in police custody in the early 1980s . . . footprints stamped all over his 'chest, stomach, leg and groin area.'"

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"During cross-examination, Burge's attorney Rick Beuke tried chiseling away at [Sammy] Lacey's credibility and self-description as a 'pretty good police officer' by pointing out that Lacey didn't do his job during the Fahey and O'Brien investigation when he failed to find a witness who had information about the case. While Burge worked to solve his comrades' murders for five days straight without going home, Lacey was receiving clearance on time due, Beuke said."

Which - if true - would somehow absolve Burge? Pretty weak, Rick.

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More interesting:

"Beuke also asked Lacey whether members of the press were present when Wilson allegedly screamed. Lacey said he did notice Area 2 was swarming with 'news people,' including broadcast reporter Jay Levine, before he went upstairs to where Wilson was being interrogated."

Levine should have been offered a chance by the newspaper to respond, but the Beuke raises an important question. According to the Tribune's report, Lacey testified that he could hear "screams" emanating from Area 2 headquarters as he was getting out of his car in the parking lot.

"During a lengthy cross-examination, Lacey said he heard the screams on the day of Wilson's arrest while amid a throng of media outside Area 2 headquarters," the Trib reports.

Unless you think Lacey is lying, members of the media must have heard those screams too.

"In opening statements, the defense had ridiculed the idea that Burge would abuse a suspect right under the nose of reporters and police brass."

But would it really surprise anyone? After all, Wilson was a suspected cop-killer.

"[L]ate that same night, Lacey saw [the suspect, Andrew] Wilson again on TV news and said he looked 'somewhat haggard and had big bandages on his head.'"

And the media didn't pursue a line of questioning about Wilson's treatment?

I didn't live in Chicago at the time, so I have no memory of the media coverage of the case at the time. But I did find the Tribune's account through ProQuest:

* "Investigators close to the case said the Wilsons gave police detailed accounts of the events surrounding the shootings," Andy Knott and Bonita Brodt reported on Feb. 15, 1982.

Also on that day, William Recktenwald and Joseph Reaves reported that "it was revealed one of the three youths had confessed to the killings and implicated the two brothers."

* On Feb. 16, 1982, John O'Brien and Philip Watley reported in the 32nd paragraph of a 33-paragraph article that "At his bond hearing Monday, [Andrew Wilson] was bleeding from a gash on his forehead, which was bandaged. No explanation of the injury was offered in court."

* On Feb. 18, 1982, the Tribune reported this, reproduced here in full:

"During the weeklong period following the shooting deaths of patrolmen William Fahey and Richard O'Brien, the Chicago Police Department received 18 complaints of excessive force being used by police in its investigation.

"A spokesperson for Police Supt. Richard Brzeczek said Wednesday that all complaints were being investigated by the department's Office of Professional Standards.

"The department said the names of complainants or nature of their allegations will not be released.

"Earlier Wednesday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, head of Operation Push, called a press conference to announce that his agency had received more than 40 calls of 'police brutality' during the investigation of Fahey and O'Brien.

"Jackson said the complaints ranged from verbal and physical abuse to illegal entry without warrants.

"'Our community is under occupation and under martial law,' Jackson told reporters. 'Our community is very tense. It is a war zone.'

"Referring to murder suspects Andrew Wilson and his brother, Jackie, arrested in connection with the slayings, Jackson said, 'They are innocent until proven guilty.'"

A search using the keywords "Andrew Wilson" and "brutality' for the rest of 1982 came up empty.

Today's Must-Read
What wasn't in today's papers: the stunning testimony of Mercy Hospital nurse Patricia Reynolds Crossin. John Conroy has the story. (See entry "The Nurse's Paperwork;" Vocalo's Burge permalinks don't work.)

Blago Beat
Meanwhile, in that other trial thingie, Rod Blagojevich's former best friend and chief of staff, Lon Monk, testified on Wednesday that he, Rod and the other members of the Gang of Four - Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly - plotted to get rich through their control of state government.

One scheme involved our old pal Mickey Segal, the erstwhile and imprisoned former macher and head honcho of the once almighty Near North Insurance company.

"The plan, never executed, was to use a front man to take over Near North and then have it broker insurance to the state, Monk said," the Tribune reports. "It would work, he explained, because Rezko already had greased the way by getting two of his friends installed by Blagojevich into posts that governed insurance contracts.

"One was Michael Rumman at the state's Central Management Services department, which handles purchasing and the other was J. Anthony Clark, the director of the state Department of Insurance.

"Profits were to be held by Rezko and divvied four ways once Blagojevich was out of office, an arrangement Monk said was arrived at because the scheme 'was in all likelihood wrong and breaking the law.'"

I profiled Mickey Segal in 2002 when I was at Chicago magazine. Only the Table of Contents is online; maybe I'll dig out the print version and put it up. Funny how the same names keep reappearing . . .

Speaking of which, I had reason to note Michael Rumman in Obama's Auchi Problem back in 2008:

From Crain's, Sept 29, 2005:

"Chicago businessman Antoin S. 'Tony' Rezko, a controversial figure in local political circles, has agreed to sell his massive real estate development in the South Loop to an Iraqi-born British billionaire with a similar knack for generating controversy on the international stage.

"General Mediterranean Holding SA, a Luxembourg-based conglomerate headed by Nadhmi Auchi, is buying Riverside Park, a yet-to-be-built development on a prime 62-acre parcel on Roosevelt Road, says Michael Rumman, a consultant on the project. He declined to disclose a price; another person familiar with the deal pegged it at $130.5 million.

[Who is Michael Rumman? "Michael Rumman, former director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, the state's internal operations real estate agency. Mr. Rumman, the former president of Peoples Energy Services, has been hired as a consultant. He announced his resignation in April after a draft audit of CMS found problems at the agency."]

"A partnership headed by Mr. Rezko, chairman of development firm Rezmar Corp., had planned to build 4,600 residential units and about 670,000-square-feet of retail space on the site. But a city minority contracting scandal involving Mr. Rezko imperiled the project's chances of getting as much as $140 million in tax subsidies to help cover infrastructure costs."

And:

"Mr. Rezko, a close confidante and fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, arranged for Mr. Auchi to meet the Governor and State Senate President Emil Jones on a visit to the U.S. last year.

Here's the thing about insiders: They're all connected. That's the point.

Programming Note
I'll be on this panel this afternoon from 3:45 to 4:45 at the Community Media Workshop's Making Media Connections Conference:

"The Business: As news reporting moves, online publishers and writers face the same issue as traditional media: How do we raise revenue to pay for content? Some new news outlets are starting to make money, while others are still discovering what the new business model might be. Panelists: Steve Rhodes, Beachwood Reporter; Rich Gordon, Northwestern University; Dave Greising, Chicago News Cooperative; Sherry Skalko, Online News Association. Moderator: Toure Mohammed, Bean Soup Times. Scribe: Gordon Mayer; National People's Action. ROOM: 801A."

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Connect.




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Posted on June 10, 2010


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - FCC [Hearts] Sinclair.
POLITICS - Police Stood By In Charlottesville.
SPORTS - Why Colin Kaepernick Matters.

BOOKS - Windy City Blues.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Fish Unboxing.


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