Mississippi man files for police torture reparations in Burge case

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Curtis Milsap, who is seeking reparations from the city of Chicago for his claims of police torture in a 1991 murder case. Milsap, 43, of Heidelberg, Mississippi, served more than two years in the Cook County Jail before he was acquitted of a murder charge. | Frank Main / Sun-Times

Curtis Milsap didn’t want to get overlooked in the city of Chicago’s agreement to pay $5.5 million in reparations to victims of police torture under the watch of former Cmdr. Jon Burge.

He heard he was supposed to put his name on a list of victims by Friday, so his mother and sister drove him from Mississippi to Chicago to fill out the paperwork.

Milsap was mistaken about the deadline, which is actually Aug. 4, according to a city spokesman.

But he took the opportunity to fill out the paperwork to return to his hometown and get the process started.

The city previously estimated about 55 people would apply, with a $100,000 cap on individual awards.

But plaintiffs’ attorneys have said the number of applicants could exceed 80, who would share the $5.5 million pot.

Milsap, who uses a wheelchair because of injuries he suffered in a car accident, claims Chicago Police Department detectives who worked for Burge handcuffed him to a cabinet and repeatedly kicked him in the groin in 1991 to coerce him to testify against a suspect in a murder investigation.

But Milsap, now 43, said he refused to implicate Terrance Brooks, who was later convicted of murder and is serving a life prison term.

Milsap was charged with murder in the same case but acquitted after sitting in jail for about 2½ years awaiting trial.

In court filings, Milsap had unsuccessfully sought to have his confession thrown out because of the alleged torture.

After his release from jail, he and his family moved to Heidelberg, Mississippi, to get away from Chicago.

“I was happy to be free,” he said. “I didn’t think of suing anyone.”

But when Milsap learned in May that the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance providing reparations to police torture victims, he said he decided to put his name in the ring.

“I mean, they really made me suffer,” he said.

Milsap has medical records that show he was sent to the hospital for injuries to his testicles in August 1991. He says he received treatment for about six months while he was in jail.

Milsap said he is unemployed because of his injuries from a car crash months after he was released from jail in 2004.

If he receives reparations from the city, he plans to use the money to open a restaurant with his sister at a gas station in Mississippi.

“Food you get here in Chicago —gyros and pizza puffs and stuff —we’ll cook it down there,” he said. “They’ll love it.”


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