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Judge Accuses City Of Lying in Police Brutality Cover-Up

Judge to City Attorneys:

"Is there anything else you want to lie to me about?"

CHICAGO--April 24, 2003--A federal suit accusing the City of Chicago of systematically preventing criminal prosecutions of its police officers took several dramatic turns yesterday, with Judge James F. Holderman accusing attorneys for the City of lying to the court and perpetuating police cover-ups by concealing evidence.

"I have the distinct feeling that you don't want me to review the evidence," Holderman told City attorney Sharon Baldwin after she delayed producing a deposition. A little later when the City was caught concealing a key witness in the case, Holderman angrily asked Baldwin, "Is there anything else you want to lie to me about?"

The case stems from the severe beating of a Latino man, George Garcia, 22, on February 2, 2001, allegedly at the hands of two off-duty Chicago police officers, Samir Oshana and Sargon Hewiyou. Garcia suffered a fractured eye socket and nose in the attack observed by six witnesses. Garcia testified that prior to the attack he went to the nearby Foster District station to try to get action against Oshana after the officer repeatedly threatened him, but officers there were of no help. Later, during the attack, Garcia managed to run away from his attackers and ran to the station, where he once again sought aid, but officers took no immediate action against Oshana in spite of visible injuries requiring hospitalization. Oshana subsequently made repeated physical threats against Garcia and family, including Garcia's 12-year-old cousin. A cousin of Oshana's also issued a death threat to Garcia. City police only bothered to send the case to the State's Attorney's office for criminal prosecution when Garcia filed suit against the City in November 2002.

The central contention of Garcia's suit is that the City of Chicago treats crimes allegedly committed by police officers very differently than those allegedly committed by civilians, even though the law and police department regulations require such criminal complaints to be treated similarly. Expert witness testimony yesterday showed that there were "strong indications of [police] cover-up in at least 29 of 72 files" of serious brutality complaints against police officers over a two year period. In only one of the 72 cases was the suspected police officer arrested by another officer.

Hidden Witness Has History of Brutality

The witness concealed by the City until yesterday turned out to none other than Chicago Detective and DEA Agent Kenneth Boudreau who, thanks to the City's obstruction and federal rules, was prevented from giving any meaningful testimony. The federal Marshal's office has to give permission before its agents can be deposed for testimony, but the City cover-up prevented such permission from being granted, and a federal marshal hurriedly called into the courtroom objected to every substantive question posed to Boudreau.

Unbeknownst to plaintiff attorneys during testimony today, Officer Boudreau himself has a long history of alleged brutality and misconduct. Activists with the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN) investigated and confirmed last night that Boudreau once was a close associate of Lt. Commander Jon Burge, the ringleader of an infamous police torture ring at Chicago Area Two police headquarters during the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. Burge and other officers were found by Amnesty International and the city's Goldston Commission to be conducting systematic torture using electrical shock to the genitals, Russian Roulette, suffocations and burnings of dozens of African American suspects to get them to "confess" to crimes.

Boudreau's record of alleged brutality and misconduct lasted well past the Burge era. A December 17, 2001 Chicago Tribune article about Boudreau noted that

"He has obtained a [murder] confession from a man who, records show, was in jail when the murder occurred! He helped to get confessions from two mentally retarded teenagers for two separate murder cases, but they both were acquitted. And he got the confession of a 13-year-old with severe learning disabilities who experts said could not understand his rights! Boudreau has been accused by defendants of punching, slapping or kicking them; interrogating a juvenile without a youth officer present; and of taking advantage of mentally retarded suspects and others with low IQs."

Garcia is being represented by Arthur Loevy, Jon Loevy and John Rosenblatt of the law firm Loevy and Loevy. Jon Loevy told the court yesterday that he expects the plaintiffs will complete their examination by the end of today, at which time the City of Chicago will be able to present its witnesses. Judge Holderman excused the jury from the courtroom several times yesterday to carry out contentious discussions with city attorneys and, at the request of the City, took the unusual step of ordering the courtroom cleared of all spectators and reporters on two occasions.

CABN asks all who believe in justice to attempt to take an hour or two today or tomorrow to visit the courtroom to show your solidarity with George Garcia. The court is located at 219 S. Dearborn, Room 2141



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