Last week Dorothy Brown, clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court and a candidate for mayor of Chicago. wrote a letter to U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald expressing concern that the local courts have been involved in a “massive cover-up” of police torture by former commander Jon Burge and some of his detectives. “The latest article in the Chicago Reader, by reporter John Conroy, couldn’t make the case more clear,” she told Fitzgerald, and asked him to investigate. On Friday morning, December 8, she held a news conference at the Federal Center to discuss her letter and the alleged cover-up.

Here at the Reader we wondered if the coverage would mention Conroy and our paper. We were asking the wrong question. The right question was: Would the coverage mention Brown? Would there even be coverage?

In a day when the media were preoccupied with the killings at the Ogilvie Center, Brown pretty much struck out.

Her spokesman, John Davis, says the news conference drew a big crowd but nobody reported on it. The Tribune ignored the subject she raised until Monday, when it published a long article reporting that Mayor Daley was about to announce his own candidacy. Deep in that article was this paragraph: “Police brutality and other wrongdoing by officers, as well as the alleged torture of suspects by former Cmdr. Jon Burge, is another campaign issue being pressed by the challengers.”

The Sun-Times included in its own Monday article on Daley a chat with Jacky Grimshaw, who ran intergovernmental affairs under Mayor Harold Washington. Grimshaw said the mayor’s challengers lack “gravitas,” and Brown “seems to be running an invisible campaign.”

Sure enough.