Claude Barbre, Natasa Brozovic, and Sarah Pekoc — Session II

Police torture in chicago: A history of trauma, justice, and rehumanization

Claude Barbre, PhD, Natasa Bronovic, M.A., and Sarah Pekoc, M.A. (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Chicago Campus)

Historians Stanley Cohen and Jinee Lokaneeta argue that “torture happens when citizens are unwilling to look too closely at what their governments are doing, particularly because they are afraid and think government wrongdoing is the only way to stop whatever it is they fear” (Cohen, 2001; Lokaneeta, 2011). Even after the 1936 United States Supreme Court ruling that the use of torture to obtain confessions from criminal defendants was an unconstitutional denial of due process, hundreds of claims that officers in the Chicago Police Department used torture on witnesses or suspects “went ignored, discounted or dismissed by the criminal justice system” (Dale, 2016). In this presentation we will explore the history of police torture in Chicago, from late 19th century to the atrocities of John Burge. We will briefly examine the nature of US torture ideology, the reparations movement in Chicago for torture victims, and the future of policing from a trauma-informed lens.