CN May 16 2019

Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were murdered by county and city police forces. There was a rogue torture operation within the Chicago Police department that for years abused  scores of people in order to extract confessions – confessions that were so wrong that decades later we taxpayers are still paying the bills for reparations.

The fact that we know anything at all about these dark periods in our history is attributable almost exclusively to a small band of crusading Northwestern law students that came together in the late sixties to form the People’s Law Office. The injustices they uncovered and proved in court required five decades of research and advocacy, but today the misdeeds of city and county law enforcement agencies and the men who led them are well known – at least to those who care about such things.

After fifty years of battling a biased judiciary and deeply secretive police agencies, Flint Taylor has assembled his life’s work into major book that lays out a stunning indictment of governmental misconduct at multiple levels.

It’s called The Torture Machine.

It’s our honor to have Flint Taylor, a Peoples’ Law Office founder, as our guest this week.

Thom Clark, who for decades fought for community access to the media through the Community Media Workshop he co-founded with Hank DeZutter, joins the show as a co-interviewer for this important discussion.

You’ll hear how Taylor and his associates were able to gain access to the rooms where Hampton and Clark were shot in 1968, and gather large amounts of evidence that would eventually prove rampant misconduct on the part of law enforcement. And how it took decades to prove it.

You’ll see in the book, and in this discussion, a detailed account of the People’s Law Office’s three-decade crusade to gather evidence and prove the existence of a torture operation deep within the CPD that elicited scores of wrongful confessions through extreme torture, and resulted in many innocent people spending decades in prison for crimes they simply didn’t commit. And the scores of millions of dollars in reparations that the citizens of Chicago have paid out to compensate men who spent the most productive years of their lives in prison unnecessarily.

You’ll see endless accounts of a judicial system complicit in the coverup of this gross misconduct, and the few judges who eventually saw injustice and took a stand.

And, perhaps most importantly, you’ll hear about the decades-long battle Taylor and his partners fought against Richard M. Daley, Richard Devine and other top officials for their refusal to acknowledge, or attempt to end, the electric shocks, the beatings, the sexual humiliation and racial injustices that public officials administered to countless men in the name of justice.

This isn’t a breezy or entertaining show to watch. It’s deeply disturbing at times, as is The Torture Machine.  But we strongly recommend watching, because rather than dwelling in the gross misdeeds of a band of sadistic men, this show celebrates the dogged devotion of a small group of advocates who were certain that there was injustice and devoted their lives to rooting it out, proving it and obtaining some semblance of justice for those subjected to it.

You can read a full transcript of the discussion here: CN transcript May 16 2019

Watch the video by tapping the image above.

Listen to the discussion on Soundcloud here.


About Ken

Ken's the host of Chicago Newsroom. A former news director, reporter and radio program host, he's also a past Vice President of the Chicago Headline Club.
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