On Thursday morning as disgraced former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge was released from federal prison to a Florida halfway house, one of his first torture victims, Anthony Holmes, stood at City Hall with tears in his eyes, recalling four decades of pain and loss.
Holmes, a former Black Gangster Disciples leader, was arrested by Burge in 1973 and taken to a South Side police station, where detectives hooked him up to an electrical box, put a bag over his head and shocked him until he confessed to a murder he says he did not commit. Holmes said he still remembers Burge in his ear, calling him the “N” word and warning him, “Don’t you bite through that bag.”
By the time Holmes was released from prison 30 years later, the statute of limitations to sue had long since run out. He has never seen a dime in damages. Now nearing 70, the soft-spoken newspaper delivery driver said he is still awakened by nightmares and struggles financially.
On Thursday he joined several aldermen and supporters to demand the City Council pass an ordinance allowing for millions of dollars in reparations and other damages to Burge’s victims, particularly those who have never had their claims heard in court.
“I need some help,” Holmes told a crowd of reporters, his voice sometimes choked with emotion. “I try to hold my emotions back because I don’t want people to see me like that. … My family has been through a lot.”