CHICAGO (AP) — A former Chicago police official convicted of lying about the torture of suspects will get to keep his $3,000-a-month pension after a motion to terminate his benefits failed Thursday by one vote.
The motion to end benefits for Jon Burge, 63, failed by a 4-4 vote, the Chicago police pension board said in a statement. It required five votes to pass.
Burge was sentenced last week to 4½ years in prison on his June conviction of lying in a civil lawsuit when he said he'd never participated in or witnessed the physical abuse of suspects.
More than 100 men have accused Burge and the officers under his command of shocking, suffocating and beating them into giving confessions during the 1970s and 1980s. The decorated former commander has never been criminally charged with abuse.
Burge has been receiving his pension since about four years after he was fired from the police department in 1993 over the mistreatment of a suspect.
The four board members who voted to allow him to keep the pension said his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice wasn't directly related to his job as a police officer.
"This question all comes down to one issue: Did Jon Burge have any law enforcement duties when he was accused of this perjury? In 2003, he did not," board member Michael Shields told the Chicago Tribune.
Some alleged victims of abuse at his hands called the decision an outrage.
Mark Clements, a national organizer for the Jail Jon Burge Coalition, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the ruling "is a prime example of how the city of Chicago protects misconduct by some of its officials."
Burge is scheduled to report to prison on March 16.