A convicted felon testified today that one of former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge's accusers told him that he was never abused and asked him to recruit others to falsely say they were tortured at Area 2.
Ricky Shaw, who is at the tail end of a 50-year sentence for armed robbery, said Melvin Jones made the admission when they were both housed at Cook County Jail in the late 1980s.
Shaw, his shackled hands and feet hidden from jurors, said Jones had asked him if he was arrested at Area 2. When Shaw said he wasn't, Jones told him he could have had a "case" if he had been arrested there.
"He [Jones] said he was never abused. He never got electroshocked, but that were other people who had already made the claim. He said he had lawyers and everybody dying to get on the case, that there were movie deals and book deals," Shaw said, dressed in an orange jumpsuit.
Shaw said Jones asked him and Aaron Patterson, another eventual Burge accuser, to screen new arrivals at the jail and get them to say they were abused at Area 2.
In 1992, Shaw said he talked to assistant cook county state's attorneys to tell them about about false police abuse claims by Patterson but admitted he never mentioned what Jones had told him because investigators "never asked."
Patterson was eventually freed from Death Row in 2003 because of his claims against Burge.
During cross examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Weisman pointed out that Shaw has been disciplined for lying at the various prisons he has been incarcerated in across the United States. In 2000, he was reprimanded for giving false information to an employee, telling officers about a hit that never panned out, Weisman said.
Two other times, he lied about staff smuggling in contraband into the jail, Weisman said.
Burge's attorney, William Gamboney, said there were at least two instances in which Shaw told prison officials about infractions that led to convictions.
Last month, Jones testified that Burge had placed a cocked gun to his head, hit him with a stapler and electroshocked him when questioning him about a murder.
Jones was charged with unlawful use of a weapon related to the 1982 arrest but was never charged with murder. The late 50s man is homeless and said he never profited from his claims.
Earlier today, Burge -- who is facing trial on federal perjury and obstruction of justice charges tied to the abuse allegations from Jones' and four others -- finished testifying in his own defense.
Weisman spent most of an hour going over Burge's interrogation techniques and questioning him about how much he lied to suspects to obtain confessions.
Burge had testified that detectives lie to suspects all the time, but, under Weisman's cross-examination today, he said he would lie "occasionally" to suspects -- and asked Weisman why he was making a big deal over a common legal practice.
"Are you proud of your reputation of taking the law into your own hands?" Weisman asked Burge.
"That's like asking when you stopped beating your wife," Burge replied. "I'm proud of my reputation -- but not for taking the law into my own hands, counselor."
Weisman then asked Burge if that was true, why did he name his boat "Vigilante."
Burge -- who said his first two boats were named "Seaspray" and "Sealove" -- said he got the name "Vigilante" from a computer generated list of names that hadn't been used for boats.
As he did last week, Burge denied ever beating criminal suspects repeatedly this morning.
By Rummana Hussain, Staff Reporter