Judge Hears Arguments on Chicago Police Torture Report

A judge heard arguments Friday over whether a report on decades-old allegations of torture in the city's police department should be released, and said he will issue a decision next week.

Two special prosecutors appointed to the case four years ago by Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel asked last month that their report be made public.

Attorneys for several police officers involved in the case oppose the release, while lawyers for people who have made torture claims said Biebel risks public outrage if he withholds the report.

Biebel, who received briefs earlier in the week, said after hearing oral arguments that he will issue a written ruling May 19 on whether the report should be released.

Biebel appointed special prosecutors Edward J. Egan and Robert D. Boyle in 2002 to investigate claims of torture by a violent-crimes unit led by former Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge, who has denied any misconduct but was fired in 1993 for mistreating a suspect.

Allegations include officers using suffocation techniques, such as placing a typewriter cover over a suspect's head, along with electric shocks, beatings and mock Russian roulette to elicit confessions.

It is still unclear whether the investigation will lead to indictments. Statutes of limitations could be an issue because the allegations date from the 1970s to the early 1990s.