Daley to answer questions on police torture claims

Apr 10, 2012, 6:05 PM

CHICAGO (AP) – Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has agreed to answer questions under oath about allegations that he was part of a conspiracy to cover up police torture decades ago, attorneys said Tuesday.

Daley and City Hall had fought for years to keep him from being brought before lawyers suing the city on behalf of men who say they were tortured by former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge or detectives under his command in the 1970s and the 1980s.

Daley was Cook County state’s attorney for much of the 1980s and became mayor in 1989.

At a federal hearing Tuesday, the city relented and agreed to make Daley available for questioning by the lawyers, said Flint Taylor, who represents a former inmate suing the city over the allegations. No date has been set.

Representatives for Daley did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment. Paul Michalik, a lawyer representing the city, confirmed Daley would appear at his deposition.

Taylor said he’s concerned that City Hall will try to set limits on the scope of the questioning when they meet with the plaintiff’s lawyers Thursday.

“We’ve been frustrated over the last seven months,” Taylor said of the city’s resistance. “We’re troubled they want to limit the scope of the deposition. They say the devil is in the details. Certainly, we don’t believe there is any reason to limit the scope.”

Daley is named in a civil suit filed by Taylor’s client, Michael Tillman, who claims Chicago police waterboarded him with soda decades ago to make him confess to a crime he didn’t commit. Tillman served nearly 24 years in prison before his rape and murder conviction was vacated and the charges were dismissed in 2010.

In documents filed in federal court last month, Daley denied knowing anything about an alleged conspiracy to cover up police torture by Burge and his men when he was serving as state’s attorney and mayor.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled that Daley could be sued by those claiming a cover-up conspiracy, saying while he had prosecutorial immunity from lawsuits as state’s attorney, he was offered no such protection as mayor.

Burge was convicted in 2010 of lying about the torture of suspects and is serving four and a half years in prison.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Daley to answer questions on police torture claims