A defiant retired Chicago Police detective Monday sparred with lawyers for a man who claims he was beaten into giving a confession for the 1994 murder of an 11-year-old boy.
Kenneth Boudreau took the witness stand to testify about the interrogation of George Anderson for the 1994 murder of 11-year-old Jeremiah Miggins, a case in which the state Torture Inquiry and Review Commission had granted Anderson’s challenge to a confession he said he made only after he was battered during 35 hours in police custody.
Boudreau maintains his only contact with Anderson came when he delivered him lunch. He spent most of his three hours on the witness stand talking about his roles in multiple other cases in which he or his fellow Area 3 detectives have been accused of abusing suspects — including 40 cases cited by the Torture Commission as involving Boudreau.
Leaning back in his chair as he was questioned by Anderson’s attorney, Russell Ainsworth, Boudreau denied each allegation, pointing out at least half-a-dozen cases where he claims to have not even spoken to defendants who later said he was involved in the abuse.
Boudreau defended his decision in 2005 to take the Fifth when called to testify before a grand jury investigating allegations of torture against Boudreau’s former commander, Jon Burge. FBI agents would not tell Boudreau if he was a target of their investigation, or even what cases they wanted to question him about, Boudreau said, leaving him unable to refresh his memory about the cases and setting a “perjury trap” if he misremembered details.
Boudreau, who has been named multiple wrongful conviction lawsuits — some of them handled by Ainsworth — let his patience slip shortly before leaving the stand.
When Ainsworth asked why Boudreau had agreed to pay $7,500 of a $1.2 million settlement in the case of a man who confessed to a murder and later was cleared by DNA, Boudreau snapped back.
“Mr. Ainsworth, you are a talented and intelligent attorney, and you’re very good at painting a blush over the hard work of good police officers,” Boudreau said, stating that he wasn’t afraid to fight the case at trial but did fear getting tagged for punitive damages that would have bankrupted his family.
Ainsworth asked why Boudreau had no faith a jury would have cleared him of wrongdoing.
“A jury that you were going to twist the facts in front of, just like you are right now?” Boudreau said.
Outside the courtroom, Boudreau stood with his lawyer and Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Martin Preib and addressed reporters.
“I tell you, I reject 100 percent the attack on me, my family and the rest of this police department,” he said, his voice choked with emotion. “This is b——t, people are making money on this.”
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story stated that Boudreau had been named in more than 40 wrongful conviction lawsuits. That figure was meant to include civil rights cases and complaints before the state Torture Inquiry and Review Board.