…Michael Tillman spent more than 20 years in prison after he was accused of the rape and murder of a South Side Chicago woman in 1986.
Tillman confessed to the crime, but only after he was tortured by police detectives. Officers allegedly hit Tillman with their fists with a phone book, threatened to kill him and even held a plastic bag over his head. Tillman recanted the confession just days later.
Tillman was still convicted of the murder even though police discovered another man with the woman’s car and the murder weapon, and whose DNA was found on a soda can near her body, according to city Corporation Counsel Steve Patton.
Tillman has since sued. In his lawsuit, Tillman claims former Mayor Richard Daley was aware of the torture African-Americans faced at the hands of officers working under disgraced ex-police Cmdr. Jon Burge. Daley was Cook County state’s attorney at the time, and Tillman named him along with numerous police officials when he sued in 2010.
In an act of restitution, a panel of aldermen recommended Monday that the city of Chicago pay $5.375 million to Michael Tillman, who was robbed of two decades of his life for a crime he didn’t commit.
Burge is serving 41/2 years in federal prison for lying about the torture and abuse of suspects.
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