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Fight Back! Follow-up

Aaron Patterson Strikes Another Blow for Justice

by Stephanie Weiner |
July 1, 2003

Chicago, IL - Former death row inmate Aaron Patterson, who was pardoned by Illinois governor George Ryan in January, filed a federal lawsuit seeking $30 million. The lawsuit targets Commander Jon Burge and seven other police officers from Area 2 police station. They were involved in the torture of Patterson and many others. The lawsuit also targets current and former top police officials, the current prosecutor and a former prosecutor for covering up the systematic torture.

At the press conference, Patterson explained, "This lawsuit is part of the process of getting justice: by holding Mayor Daley and State's Attorney Dick Devine accountable for their racist attacks on Black and Latino communities."

Patterson, true to form, used the occasion of the lawsuit press conference to educate Chicagoans on the specific cases that he is focusing on now. By his side was Nathson Fields, a former prisoner on Illinois death row, now going through a new trial . Fields was bailed out with money that Patterson took out a personal bank loan to get. Patterson explained that he is working on a full program of demands to stop the state terrorism against the Black and Latino communities.

Patterson spoke at the press conference about the problems in Area 5 police district in the Puerto Rican and Mexican neighborhood of Humboldt Park. He explained that, even though a particularly crooked cop, Detective Miedzianowski, was sent to prison for life, nothing was being done to re-open the cases where Miedzianowski was involved in framing people. After the press conference, Patterson stayed to strategize with the activists about future demonstration targets and tactics.