Chicago aldermen have recommended that the city pay out $950,000 to an 80-year-old man who said he confessed to a 1951 rape after police tortured him.
Oscar Walden Jr., an African American, spent 50 years professing his innocence in the brutal rape and beating of a white woman before then-Gov. George Ryan pardoned him in 2003.
Walden said officers slapped him in the face, kicked his shin, bent his fingers back and verbally abused him during interrogation, Leslie Darling of the city's Law Department said during a City Council Finance Committee meeting. Walden was convicted and imprisoned from age 20 to age 34, she said.
Finance Committee Chairman Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, said the settlement seemed small given what Walden endured, prompting Darling to note he is 80 years old.
“It appears he won’t be on the green side of the grass much longer. He might as well get what he can while he can get it," Burke replied Monday. "American justice, huh?”
The Walden settlement was part of $1.95 million in payments to wrongfully convicted men the Finance Committee recommended Monday. Aldermen also called for the city to pay $425,000 to DeAndre Washington and $575,000 to William Yancy.
Both said they faced malicious prosecution in the 1999 murder of Sammy Tate. Each spent more than four years behind bars before being acquitted.
The full City Council will consider the three settlements Wednesday.