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Daley denies knowledge of police torture, alleged conspiracy to cover it up

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley

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Updated: April 10, 2012 10:15AM

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley denied in federal court documents filed Friday that he knew anything about an alleged citywide conspiracy to cover up police torture of African Americans at the hands of former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his underlings.

Daley is named as a defendant in a civil suit filed by Michael Tillman, who spent 23 years in prison for a murder he says he didn’t commit, but confessed to only after police tortured him.

Throughout the 49-page document filed in U.S. District Court, Daley repeatedly denies knowing anything about the alleged torture of numerous defendants while he was Cook County state’s attorney and later when he became mayor.

“This defendant denies liability to plaintiff [Tillman] for any and all claims asserted in the complaint,” the court filing states.

Daley also denied a claim that he tried to block or undercut efforts to expose or prosecute Burge and his men.

Late last year, U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled Daley could be sued as a defendant for his alleged role in the plaintiffs’ claim of a citywide cover-up conspiracy. In his role as Cook County state’s attorney, Daley has prosecutorial immunity from lawsuits, but not as mayor, according to Pallmeyer’s ruling.

When Tillman was released in 2010, Cook County special prosecutors concluded there was no reliable evidence against him. Tillman received a certificate of innocence from the chief judge of the criminal court of Cook County.

Two years ago, Burge was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a civil court case when asked if he knew of the torture. He is serving a 4-1/2-year sentence in federal prison.

A trial date has not yet been set in the Tillman case, and Daley has yet to give a deposition, said Tillman’s attorney, Flint Taylor.

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