26 Jan 2017

Chicago to pay nearly $US5m for police misconduct cases

7:26 pm on 26 January 2017

Chicago will pay $US4.75 million ($NZ6.5m) in settlements in two cases stemming from police misconduct after the city council voted to approve the payments.

Chicago police car

The city of Chicago has reached a settlement agreement in two police misconduct cases. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Shawn Whirl, who spent nearly 25 years in prison after being tortured into confessing a murder, has been awarded $US4m ($NZ5.5m).

Mr Whirl's compensation was the latest in a string of city payments linked to torture carried out by disgraced former Chicago police commander Jon Burge and those who worked under him.

Burge and the detectives under his command were accused of forcing confessions from black suspects by using electric shocks from a homemade device, suffocation with plastic covers and mock executions.

Burge was fired in 1993 and later convicted of lying about police torture in testimony he gave in civil lawsuits.

Chicago approved reparations for the victims in 2015 and began paying them last year.

A Chicago police detective coerced Mr Whirl into confessing to the 1990 murder of Billy Williams on the city's south side, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

Mr Whirl, who was 20 years old at the time, was sentenced in 1991 to 60 years in prison, but exonerated in 2015. He filed a lawsuit against the city following his release alleging he was a victim of a "pattern of systemic torture and physical abuse of African-American suspects", according to court documents.

Meanwhile, the estate of Willie Miller was awarded $US750,000 ($NZ1m).

Mr Miller was 25 when police fatally shot him in April 2010, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Police said Mr Miller pointed a gun at them during a confrontation, but a gun found about 4.5m from Mr Miller could not be linked to him, the newspaper reported.

- Reuters