Police Torture History Essay

1038 Words 5 Pages
Before discussing the history of police torture in Chicago, it is first important to discuss the history of the lack of value for the lives and well-being of people of color in the United States. According to Chowdhry and Beeman, during the era of slavery, Blacks in the United States were forced to work long hours doing hard labor and were subject to beating or even death if they did not follow the orders of slave owners. After, the Emancipation Proclamation, Blacks were forced to follow laws which only applied to Black people in the US and if they were not followed they would be charged and most often receive the punishment of hard labor these were known as Black Codes (Chowdhry and Beeman, 2007). While Blacks were no longer enslaved, there …show more content…
According to Dale, the earliest record of police torture in Chicago is in the 1870’s. Reports from the early 1870’s to roughly 1900’s reveals that suspects were tortured to attempt to elicit suspects to commit to crimes. Most commonly, torture victims reported being placed in sweatboxes, rooms where suspects would face extreme heat. The practice of torture did face opposition but little was done. Most opposition focused on private detective agencies rather than the Chicago police Department (CPD). The first substantial attempt to try to end police torture in the city was in 1907 when the Illinois General Assembly proposed a bill, which would end the use of sweatboxes as well as criminalize the act of using force or threats to obtain information. This was an unsuccessful attempt as the Illinois senate failed to pass this bill. Beginning in 1910, outside groups other than CPD began to look into reports of police torture. At a national level, subcommittees in the senate examined issues of torture in federal agencies and banned the use of torture. This ban only affected federal agencies, and therefore had no impact of practices within CPD. At a local level, trial judges sought to stop the practice of police torture however, this effort was largely unsuccessful in the city of Chicago, as many victims were afraid to press charges against police officers (Dale, …show more content…
Dale describes laws and legislation relevant to the issue, a Supreme Court case (Brown v. Mississippi, 1936) drastically changed police torture. The ruling by the Supreme Court made all torture in law enforcement to coerce a confession unconstitutional. According to Dale, despite this ruling, police torture in the city of Chicago did not end. It is believed that police torture disappeared from the media and from the public. One reason for this may be due to police torturing people in a manner, which was concealable such as torture, which left no physical marks. Further, the Supreme Court sought to distance their selves from cases involving police torture by the 1950’s. This meant that issues involving police torture was up to the state and local governing agencies to decide how to handle police torture. The development of the Gang Intelligence Unit in Chicago increased the racial issues of police torture. This new unit targeted Blacks and Latinos on the south and west sides of the city to a greater extent than before (Dale,

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