Claims that police in Chicago tortured suspects date back to at least 1919. That year, Charles Johnson, one of two Black teens charged with a murder during the riot, testified he was threatened and hit until he confessed to the crime. Walter Colvin, the teen tried with Johnson, added that he was beaten while in custody, too.
The jury and judge disregarded their claims. The Illinois Supreme Court said that if their testimony was true it was ’a gross outrage,’ and their confessions should be thrown out. But that court didn’t believe them either.