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Judge: Release Chicago Torture Report

May 20, 2006

CHICAGO (AP) _ A report from a four-year, multimillion-dollar investigation into allegations that Chicago police tortured black suspects should be released to the public, a judge ruled Friday.

Attorneys for several officers involved in the case had argued against the release of the report, which addresses accusations that police tortured 192 black men in interrogation rooms during the 1970s and 1980s.

But in authorizing special prosecutors to release the document, Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel wrote that ``the public’s right to be informed of the results of this exhaustive investigation outweighs the privacy rights of the individual officers.″

Allegations include officers using suffocation techniques, such as placing a typewriter cover over a suspect’s head, electric shocks, beatings and mock Russian roulette to elicit confessions.

One of the prosecutors, Edward J. Egan, said the report would be reviewed for accuracy and not released before June 2.

Attorneys for some of the police officers said they would decide within several days whether to appeal Biebel’s ruling.

Biebel appointed the special prosecutors in 2002 to investigate allegations of torture by a violent crimes unit. The investigation has cost $5.5 million.

Shortly before Friday’s hearing, more than a dozen demonstrators stood outside the courthouse calling on authorities to punish anyone responsible for torture.

It is unclear whether the investigation will lead to indictments. Statutes of limitations could be an issue.

A U.N. anti-torture panel said the investigation into allegations of torture at the Chicago Police Department needs to go further.

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