CHICAGO (CN) - A man exonerated of rape after serving 31 years in prison sued Chicago, claiming he was tortured by police officers under the command of Lt. Jon Burge into confessing to the crime.
"Plaintiff Stanley Wrice spent 31 years, three months, and two days in prison for a crime that he did not commit," the complaint states. "Plaintiff was wrongfully convicted in 1983 of the rape and deviate sexual assault of K.B. and sentenced to 100 years' imprisonment."
Wrice claims he was charged after two officers under the supervision of now-notorious Police Commander Jon Burge handcuffed him to a cell, spread his legs apart, and repeatedly hit him in the groin with a flashlight until he agreed to sign a false confession.
The same officers also tortured one of Wrice's co-arrestees into falsely identifying him as the rapist, Wrice claims.
Wrice sued former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge, six former Chicago police officers, former Mayor Richard Daley, former Assistant State's Attorney Bertina Lampkin, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the Cook County Office of State's Attorney, on Monday in Federal Court.
Burge is serving
4½ years in prison for lying about the police torture of suspects. He denied that officers ever abused suspects in custody, but evidence at a 2003 trial showed that he suffocated suspects with plastic bags, shocked them with electrical devices and put loaded guns to their heads.
Wrice says in his lawsuit: "The miscarriage of justice in plaintiff's case was not an isolated occurrence. Rather, it was part of a pattern of systemic torture and physical abuse of African American suspects at the Area 2 and Area 3 police headquarters."
As many as 120 men, mostly African-American, may have been victims of Burge's torture. Chicago has spent more than $85 million to settle claims related to his misconduct, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"Following his conviction and 100 year sentence in 1983, plaintiff languished in prison until December 12, 2013, when the Cook County Special Prosecutor agreed to dismiss all charges against him. The prosecutors dismissal of all charges against plaintiff came after Cook County Judge Richard Walsh granted plaintiff a new trial, finding that defendants Byrne and [Det. Peter] Dignan committed perjury when they testified in 1983 that they did not beat plaintiff to secure his inculpatory statement," Wrice says in the complaint.
He claims that defendants' conspiracy to cover up the evidence of torture by Burge and his subordinates "substantially delayed plaintiff's exoneration, and caused plaintiff to face many additional years of unjust incarceration that he would not have endured if the obstruction, suppression, and concealment had not occurred."
Wrice seeks punitive damages for wrongful conviction, false arrest and imprisonment, torture, coercive interrogation, conspiracy, malicious prosecution, and emotional distress.
He is represented by Jennifer Bonjean, of Brooklyn, N.Y.