Since the first reports of Chicago police torture
surfaced a quarter
century ago the
list has swelled to
nearly 200 cases
involving dozens of
public employees—and still no one has
been prosecuted.
Now, with the
results of a four-year,
dollar investigation
due any day, here’s
a guide by staff reporter John Conroy to the key
figures in the
Some of them
may look familiar.

Terry Hilliard

AP/Charles Bennett


In 1998, while serving as general
counsel to police superintendent
Terry Hillard, Needham learned
that outgoing Office of
Professional Standards chief
Gayle Shines had reopened nine
investigations into the Burge
gang’s torture of suspects, that
charges had been sustained in
some of those cases, and that
after Shines left her post the documents,
critical to the defense of
some men sentenced to death,
had been found boxed up in her
office, gathering dust.

In a 1999 deposition, Needham
said he didn’t read the files but
instead looked at the names of
the accused, the findings, and the
dates of the investigators’ activity.
On August 31, 1998, he issued a
memo saying that all the charges
in all the cases would be regarded
as “not sustained,” a move supported
by Superintendent Hillard.
In his deposition Needham said it
wasn’t fair to the police department
to do otherwise. “No organization
can operate effectively if
they’re continually looking back,”
he said. “Healthy organizations
have to move forward.” Those
particular files were later released
as a result of a federal lawsuit in
which the Reader intervened.

Hillard, also deposed in 1999,
was asked about the Goldston
report, the 1990 OPS report that
concluded that torture was a regular
occurrence at Area Two and
named “players.” Hillard replied,
“I don’t know nothing about the
Goldston report.”

Needham is now an attorney in
private practice. Shines heads an
investigations and internal
audits department at Chicago
City Colleges. Hillard retired as
superintendent in August 2005.

An archive of John Conroy’s reporting on the police torture scandal is available at