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“Everyone is evaluated in terms of any danger they may pose and any dangers they may be confronted with,” said Sergio Acosta, a former assistant U.S. attorney who was chief of the general-crimes section before going into private practice with the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson.
Burge, who has been fighting prostate cancer, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a deposition in a lawsuit accusing him and other Chicago Police officers of torturing suspects.
At his sentencing Friday, prosecutors said he trampled the rights of defendants. Burge apologized for putting the Chicago Police Department in a poor light, but did not address the torture allegations.
Acosta said Burge’s sentence should serve as a warning to cops committing crimes and encourage the honest ones “that there is a place for them to come forward and report it.”
Burge is among at least 54 law enforcement officers charged by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald since 2005. At least 20 of those officers were on the Chicago Police Department.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez also has been active in prosecuting cops. Since she took office in December 2008, she has prosecuted 29 law enforcement officers, including 11 Chicago police officers.
When cops like them are sent to the Cook County Jail on state charges, they automatically go to Cermak Hospital for 48 hours of observation, said Steve Patterson, a spokesman for Sheriff Tom Dart.
“The reason for that is the concern about them committing suicide because they were sworn to uphold the law and are now charged with violating the law,” Patterson said.