Eilman’s case was to go to federal trial next week. Patton suggested a jury could have awarded her family far more money than the settlement amount.
Burke, who chairs the finance committee, said he was embarrassed by the officers’ behavior and ashamed he and other members didn’t order the city to settle with the family sooner. Cleary angry, he read from a federal appellate court opinion allowing Eilman’s lawsuit to proceed last year.
Police didn’t so much as walk her to a train station, warn her about the dangers of the neighborhood or “even return Eilman’s cellphone, which she might have used to summon aid,” he read. “They might as well have released her into the lions’ den at the Brookfield Zoo.”
Logan’s lawsuit is one of several stemming from one of the darkest chapters of the Chicago Police Department’s history.
Logan was arrested in 1982 in the slaying of an off-duty Cook County corrections officer, who was shot to death at a McDonald’s while working as a security guard.
Logan and another man were convicted, even though there was no physical evidence linking Logan to the crime. Logan was freed in 2008, months after two attorneys representing the other man came forward with a confession from their client that attorneys did not reveal until he died because they were bound to honor the attorney-client privilege.
According to Patton, there were many problems with the investigation, including there being no evidence Logan even knew his co-defendant. While there was no evidence Logan was tortured by Burge’s detectives, another man gave authorities information implicating Logan after being tortured. Furthermore, Patton said Burge has admitted he believed Logan was innocent. Burge has been convicted of lying under oath by testifying in another case that he never witnessed or participated in the torture of suspects.
Alderman Ray Suarez suggested the city was getting off easy with a settlement that, after attorneys’ fees, will pay Logan less than $8.75 million.
“He spent 26 years in jail (and) I think $8 million is really not enough,” Suarez said.
But Logan himself said the money will “bring a measure of happiness because it will allow me to live in a comfortable manner.” Besides, he said at a news conference at his attorney’s office Tuesday afternoon, his eyes welling with tears, “Nothing, no amount of money will ever make up for the time I lost…. I lost everything.”
(AP Photo: Alton Logan spent 26 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.)