Man Who Was Waterboarded, Suffocated by Burge Torture Ring To Seek New Trial

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Twenty-three years to the day that he was savagely tortured during a three-day interrogation administered by underlings of indicted former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, Michael Tillman will ask a Cook County Circuit Court to order a new trial in connection with his 1986 conviction for a murder he didn’t commit. Beginning with his arrest on July 21, 1986, Tillman was subjected to a crude form of waterboarding, suffocation with a plastic bag, physical abuse and a mock execution inflicted by the so-called Area 2 “Midnight Crew” working under Burge’s command.


Tillman was tortured during a three-day interrogation orchestrated by Area 2 Police Sergeant John Byrne, Burge’s chief henchman. Tillman was subsequently convicted of murder and sentenced to prison based largely on the confession coerced by the abuse.

The atrocities inflicted on Tillman were part of a three-decade spree of torture that Burge and his associates perpetrated against African-American suspects from the early 1970s through the ’90s. Burge was indicted late last year in connection with the torture allegations, while Byrne and other Midnight Crew members invoked the 5th Amendment under recent questioning about the torture allegations.

MacArthur Justice Center is an independent, publicly funded law firm, founded in 1985 by Roderick MacArthur.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 21st

WHERE: People’s Law Office, 1180 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago

WHO: Flint Taylor, Peoples Law Office

Locke Bowman, MacArthur Justice Center

Joey Mogul, Peoples Law Office

Representatives of Michael Tillman’s family

Source: MacArthur Justice Center

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