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Ex-Chicago Cop on Trial for Torturing Confessions From 100 Black Men

By Jeff Mays on May 25th 2010 2:59PM
Filed under: News, Politics, Race and Civil Rights

Darrell Cannon was asleep with his common-law wife and son in 1983 when a group of white police officers burst into his Chicago apartment. They said he knew something about a homicide, threw him in the back of a police car and took him to a secluded location.

In an effort to get details, the officers first performed a mock lynching. When that didn't work, one of the officers pretended to load a pump-action shotgun, put the shotgun in Cannon's mouth and pulled the trigger three times.

"One of them said, 'Go ahead, blow that nigger's head off.' And that's when [officer] Peter Dignan forced the shotgun in my mouth. And he said, "You're not going to tell me what I want to hear? You're not going to tell me?" I said, "No." And that's when he pulled the trigger," said Cannon. "The third time they did it, when I heard the trigger pull, in my mind, I thought he was blowing the back of my head off, because the hair on the back of my head stood straight up when I heard that click."

Finally, the rogue cops pulled down Cannon's pants and forced his legs apart. Using a battery operated cattle prodder, they repeatedly shocked Cannon's testicles. It was the final straw, Cannon told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

"Finally I agreed to tell them anything they wanted to hear. Anything. It didn't matter to me. You know, if they said, "Did your mother do it?" "Yes, yes, yes." Because the diabolical treatment that I received was such that I had never in my life experienced anything like this. I didn't even know anything like this here existed in the United States," Cannon said.

Not only does such treatment exist in this country, prosecutors in Chicago allege that it flourished under the wicked guidance of ex-police Lt. Jon Burge (pictured).

In all, Burge may have overseen the torture of and obtained coerced confessions from more than 100 African American men over the course of a 22-year career.