Retired detective accused of abuse testifies: ‘I believe I acted professionally’

SHARE Retired detective accused of abuse testifies: ‘I believe I acted professionally’

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Chicago Police retiree John Halloran said Monday that neither he nor his fellow Area 3 detectives beat or bullied suspects, as lawyers for a man serving a life sentence for murder questioned him about a three-decade career marked with commendations as well as allegations of abuse.

Halloran seemed at ease on the stand in Judge William Hooks’ courtroom, spending more than three hours being quizzed about how he got George Anderson to confess to the 1994 murder of 11-year-old Jeremiah Miggins, as well as half-a-dozen other cases in which Halloran managed to get admissions of guilt from people who were acquitted at trial or exonerated by DNA.

In the past, Halloran had taken the Fifth Amendment rather than answer questions about abuse allegations leveled by other defendants. On Monday, he answered questions at length, offering an encyclopedic recollection of his questioning of Anderson, and denied that Anderson got no food during 35 hours in custody, was hit with a rubber hose or even subjected to profanity.

“You have no regrets about the way you’ve treated any suspect you’ve interrogated?” asked Anderson’s attorney, David Owens, toward the end of a about three hours of cross-examination.

“I do not,” Halloran said. “I believe I acted professionally.”

Anderson maintains he was tortured by Halloran and colleagues Michael Kill and Kenneth Boudreau until he confessed to the murder of Miggins, and then to the slaying of 14-year-old Kathryn Myles. Boudreau is scheduled to testify later this month.

The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission granted Anderson a new hearing on whether or not his confession was coerced, finding his long-standing claims of abuse were credible. The state panel has registered nearly 40 complaints of police torture in cases Halloran worked on.

Halloran, however, had never been disciplined over any of the allegations, Special Prosecutor Robert Williams pointed out.

“There’s never been a finding by any court, any administrative tribunal that Mr. Halloran abused a suspect,” Williams said. “Has anybody found out that he actually beat somebody?”

Indeed, Halloran had remained a top detective, still getting assigned to heater cases even late in his career. In 2013, he interrogated a suspect in the Hadiya Pendleton murder, Micheail Ward, whose confession has been challenged by Ward’s defense team. Ward’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Julie Koehler, sat in the gallery for the duration of Halloran’s testimony, and handed him a subpoena on his way out of the courtroom.

Halloran’s extended answers on the witness stand have become less common among detectives facing allegations of abuse, at least in the years since former Chicago Police commander Jon Burge was indicted for perjury in 2010.

Burge, who denied under oath any knowledge of the torture of suspects while he was in charge of Area 2, landed in prison at age 73. Burge was Halloran’s commander of detectives at Area 3, but Halloran said Burge never gave him advice on how to handle a case.

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