Reclaiming a Lost History

Between 1871, the year of the Chicago Fire, and 1971, hundreds of people claimed they were tortured as part of a criminal investigation in Chicago. The recent history of torture in Chicago is well known, but the history of those older claims has been lost. That loss limits our understanding of more recent claims and our ability to adequately respond to them.

This blog is designed to help reclaim that lost history. It builds on my recent book, Robert Nixon and Police Torture in Chicago, 1871-1971 (NIU Press, 2016), expanding on that study to record the individual stories of the claims of torture and the people who made them.

It is also intended to connect the present to those lost moments in the past. So this site will also try to capture current accounts of torture and misconduct that bear witness to those older patterns.

Surveillance in Chicago

Chicago is one of the top cities in the US for surveillance cameras. But

Kenneth Johnson, police commander of the Englewood district in Chicago, said that residents shouldn’t be concerned about privacy because the cameras are out in the open in public places. “This isn’t a secret. This isn’t an Orwellian ‘Big Brother,’” he told the New York Times last year.

From: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/09/six-us-cities-make-list-most-surveilled-places-world/598426/

Police accountability?

Saved by the miraculous discovery of vital evidence

The ruling marks the second time that Poulos, who is white, has been cleared in a fatal shooting of a black man. In the first shooting, which happened in 2013, an off-duty Poulos thought 28-year-old Rickey Rozelle was armed when he saw him holding a shiny object near his waist, but no weapon was recovered, only a chrome-colored watch.