Sunday, June 20, 2010

Burge Trial - Like "The Black Box" Frank Sirtoff Seems to Have Vanished, sort of

Everyone, we are told repeatedly, must accept that Jon Burge tortured hundreds of black men between the 1980's and 1990's.

However, wheels keep falling off this bandwagon - hundreds of black men, came down to five two weeks ago when the prosecution in the perjury trial of Jon Burge took flight and the black box electrical torture has yet to appear in anything but rumor and hearsay.

For quite a while, especially during the Cook County Special Attorney's Report development and publication, readers were treated to an eye-witness account by a then Boy Scout in Bluhm Center Literature and Counterpunch articles by Eric Ruder of the Socialist Worker.Frank Sirtoff told of witnessing the torture of black men by Burge with the fabled 'Black Box."

Where is this 'Witness for the Prosecution?"

Like the 'black box' Frank Sirtoff no longer seems relevant to the people who demand that we all must accept that Jon Burge tortured hundreds.

Frank Sirtoff then,

ABC7 Exclusive: Former Boy Scouts claim to have witnessed torture

Two former Boy Scouts say they witnessed the torture of a suspect and they believe former commander Jon Burge was involved.

There was a 1980′s film called “Stand By Me” about kids who stumbled onto a crime scene and it changed their lives forever. Not only are the following memories remindful of that film, they are also the first independent, corroborated witness accounts of possible torture inside a Chicago police station.

“I’ve tried to put it in the back of my mind most of the time and tried to live my life as good as I could. But after seeing something like that, it’s a life-changing experience,” said Frank Sirtoff, alleged torture witness.

Forty-five-year-old Frank Sirtoff says he will never forget what he saw during the summer of 1975 when he was a 14-year-old boy scout living on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Sirtoff says he and a cousin, who was also a scout, entered the Area 3 police headquarters — then at 39th and California — to visit their scout leader who was a detective in the youth division on the third floor.

“We made it a habit of going there quite often, at least once a week,” said Sirtoff.

But that day, the boys went exploring on the second floor. Sirtoff says he remembers opening a door and seeing a black man in distress sitting at a long desk.

“And this man was sitting in the wooden chair, strapped down with handcuffs on his arms, his legs,” Sirtoff said. “The leg of the chair and wires all over his body, wires on his arms, his hands, his forehead, by the temples of his head … and on top of the desk was a black box with a crank handle and all of the wires going into the box.”

Frank’s cousin wished to remain anonymous as he talked about also seeing the black man, the box and the wires and a large, red-haired detective.

“He had red hair, mustache, big guy. He said, ‘shut that n—-r up and get these f—–g kids out of here,’ ” said Frank’s cousin, who was 13 at the time.

Sirtoff says, after seeing news reports during the past 30 years, there is no doubt in his mind the red-haired man was Jon Burge, the now retired police commander under investigation for the torture of nearly 200 black men.

“I look at Burge, and Burge looks at me right in the eye, and says, ‘kill the n—–r and get the kid,’ ” Sirtoff said.

Police department records say that in 1975 Burge was not assigned to Area 3. That year he was a sergeant working as a detective in the intelligence division and for the Fourth District on the South Side.

Sirtoff’s scout leader, Martin W. Conroy, who retired as a detective in 1995, says he remembers Sirtoff and the other boy “frequently visited at the youth division”. By telephone from his home in Texas, Conroy said, “I believe them. Why would they make it up?”

On Burge being at 39th and California that day, Conroy said, “If outside detectives made an arrest in Area 3, they might come there for an interrogation or to take part in it.”

Attorney Flint Taylor has represented alleged victims in 10 torture-related lawsuits.

“It’s been documented that in the ’70′s there were cases where people would be picked up in another area of the city, for Burge, that Burge would either go to him or he’d be brought to Burge,” said Flint Taylor, People’s Law Center.

Sirtoff says, after the confrontation with the red-haired detective, he and his cousin ran to Conroy’s office on the third floor where they were ordered out of the building. It wasn’t until many years later, after seeing news reports on alleged police torture, that he began suffering guilt for not telling someone about what he had seen.

“I want to be able to say to myself and think to myself that I didn’t die taking this to the grave with me, and that guy that was sitting in the chair, he knows that I finally told somebody about it,” said Sirtoff.

Sirtoff says in 1994 he told the FBI in northwest Indiana about what he saw. He says he did not tell the FBI in Chicago fearing it might be as corrupt as police. The FBI will neither confirm nor deny that such an interview took place.

Sirtoff left voice mail messages at the People’s Law Center in Chicago three years ago. He told the same story on the tapes — that still exist — but he did not leave his name or a number where he could be reached.

Neither Sirtoff nor his cousin talked to the special prosecutor who has been conducting the official investigation.

Frank Sirtoff now,

Frank Sirtoff III, 49, of Ottawa was charged with domestic battery, aggravated assault and fleeing and eluding following an incident in which Spring Valley, Ladd and Peru police officers pursued the suspect's vehicle after he allegedly struck a car in the parking lot of the BP Amoco station and left the scene at 4:11 p.m. March 25. Officers were pursuing Sirtoff's vehicle north on Route 89 at high speeds when it went off the roadway on the ramp to Interstate 80 and became stuck in the mud. Sirtoff allegedly struck a 47-year-old female passenger in the face during the pursuit. She was taken to St. Margaret's hospital by 10-33 Ambulance Service as a result of the injury from the domestic battery. A 15-year-old male passenger in the car was

Where is Frank Sirtoff? The Boy Scout Frank Sirtoff swore he saw Burge do it. Scout's Honor.


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