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CITY OF CHICAGO REPARATIONS FOR BURGE TORTURE VICTIMS - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 1. Who is eligible for financial reparations?


Any person who has 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 is eligible for financial reparations.


2. How do I apply for financial reparations?


You must either mail or email a completed claim form and any documents supporting your claim, along with a fully executed release and waiver, to:


Professor Daniel T. Coyne
Clinical Professor of Law
IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law
565 W. Adams St. – Suite 600
Chicago, Illinois 60661-3691
or
dcoyne@kentlaw.edu
 

The claim form, as well as the release and waiver form, are no longer available on-line. As provided by the Reparations for Burge Torture Victims Ordinance, these forms were available on the City's website for 30 days beginning on May 6, 2015, which was the effective date of the ordinance.


3. Is there a cutoff date for filing claims for financial reparations?


Yes. You must submit a completed claim form and any supporting documents, along with a release and waiver, on or before August 4, 2015.


4. Who will decide whether I am eligible for financial reparations?


Professor Coyne will review your completed claim form and any documents you submit, and will make a preliminary determination whether you are eligible.


If Professor Coyne preliminarily determines that you are eligible, attorneys for the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials and the City of Chicago will review your claim. If these attorneys agree that you are eligible, you will be entitled to financial reparations.


If these attorneys do not agree, an arbitrator will decide whether you are eligible. If your case goes to the arbitrator, you or a representative of your choice will have an opportunity to explain to the arbitrator why you should receive financial reparations, and to present documentary evidence supporting your claim.


5. Can I appeal from the arbitrator’s decision that I am not eligible?


No. The arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding.


6. If I am eligible for financial reparations, how much money will I receive?


The amount you receive will depend on how many other eligible claimants there are, and also on whether you have already received compensation for your claim of torture or physical abuse (such as by settling a lawsuit against the City).


The City of Chicago has appropriated $5.5 million for financial reparations. That money will be divided evenly between all eligible claimants, provided that no claimant will receive more than $100,000. This means that if you previously settled your claim(s) for $50,000, you may receive up to $50,000.


7. If I file a claim for financial reparations, will I have to waive my claims against the City?


Yes. As a precondition to being considered for financial reparations, you must sign a written waiver and release of any claims, losses, damages, or expenses, including attorneys’ fees and costs, in any way arising out of or relating to the torture or physical abuse.


8. A member of my family was tortured or physically abused but is now deceased. Am I eligible for financial reparations?


No. The family members of deceased Burge victims are not eligible for financial reparations. However, immediate family members and, in some cases, grandchildren of deceased Burge victims may be eligible for non-financial benefits.


“Immediate family members” of Burge victims include: a victim’s spouse, domestic partner and/or partner at the time the victim was tortured and/or a current spouse or partner; a victim’s parents; a victim’s siblings; a victim’s children; and a victim’s step-children.

9. What non-financial benefits are available?


The following non-financial benefits will be available to Burge victims and their immediate family members:


• specialized psychological, family, substance abuse, and other counseling services at a South Side location;


• prioritized access to job training and placement, counseling, assistance for food, housing and transportation, one-on-one case management at City-operated Community Re-Entry Support Centers and Community Service Centers;


• prioritized access to senior care services and resources provided by the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, including but not limited to Congregate Meals, Health Promotion Services, Fitness and General Recreation, and the Aging and Disability Resource Network;


• prioritized access to health services programs coordinated by the Chicago Department of Public Health; and


• prioritized access to small business assistance programs administered by the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.


Burge victims (but not their immediate family members) also will receive access to training and jobs offered to those who are formerly incarcerated.


In addition, up to 200 Burge victims, their immediate family members and their grandchildren will receive free tuition at the City Colleges of Chicago and free access to the specialized job training and certification programs offered there.


10. How do I file a claim for non-financial benefits?


If you are a Burge victim, you do not need to file a separate claim for non-financial benefits. Your claim for financial reparations will be considered to be a claim for non-financial benefits as well.


If you are an immediate family member or a grandchild of a deceased Burge victim and you wish to file a claim for non-financial benefits, you must submit a completed claim form and any supporting documents to Professor Daniel Coyne on or before October 7, 2015. You also must submit an affidavit stating the name of and the nature of your relationship to the Burge victim that entitles you to receive non-financial benefits.

 

11. Are there any other elements to the reparations package passed by City Council?


Yes, the package also included the following:


• The Mayor presented a resolution to the City Council that provided a formal apology on behalf of the City to the torture survivors, their family members, and other affected individuals and communities for the torture and other abuse committed by Burge and his subordinates.  After adoption by the City Council, the resolution was recorded in the City Council’s Journal of Proceedings.


• The City committed to work with the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (“CTJM”) and the individuals, communities, and organizations CTJM works with to identify a location for and agree upon the nature and/or design of a permanent memorial recognizing the victims of torture perpetrated by Burge and his subordinates.


• Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, the Chicago Public Schools will teach students about the Burge case and its legacy during eighth- and tenth-grade history.  The lesson will be incorporated into the existing curriculum for U.S. history.  Students will analyze primary source documents to gain a better understanding of the Burge case, review current cases of police brutality, explore different viewpoints on the best way to provide police oversight and accountability, and assess the strengths and limitations of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights when it comes to protecting citizens from abuse.