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Robert Nixon and Police Torture in Chicago, 1871–1971
“Dale offers a highly readable, well-researched analysis of an important criminal case with a fresh perspective. What is especially impressive is the book’s accessibility and its use of the particular case of Robert Nixon as a window into the history of police torture in the US.” —Michael J. Pfeifer, author of Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874–1947
"Elizabeth Dale has performed a service in writing this book. It is a welcome reminder of the bad old days of policing—days that one would hope are behind us now, provided we remain vigilant." —H-Net Reviews
In 2015, Chicago became the first city in the United States to create a reparations fund for victims of police torture, after investigations revealed that former Chicago police commander Jon Burge tortured numerous suspects in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. But claims of police torture have even deeper roots in Chicago. In the late 19th century, suspects maintained that Chicago police officers put them in sweatboxes or held them incommunicado until they confessed to crimes they had not committed. In the first decades of the 20th century, suspects and witnesses stated that they admitted guilt only because Chicago officers beat them, threatened them, and subjected them to “sweatbox methods.” Those claims continued into the 1960s.
May 2016, 184 pp., 4 illus., 6x9
Elizabeth Dale is professor of history and law at the University of Florida. She has written a number of books on law and history, including The Chicago Trunk Murder (NIU Press, 2011) and Criminal Justice in the United States, 1789–1939. She was a civil rights lawyer in Chicago before attending graduate school.
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