With regard to the events in the Balkan states in the 1990s, the songs of the day were political despotism, harsh economic conditions and banishments. These events came about after Slobodan Milosevic gave his approval to power, creating friction between Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian and Albanian people. Through using the army and secret police to break down the opposition, Milosevic strengthened his rule with the marked spike in inter-ethnic conflicts.
In 1996 elections for public posts were held and an unexpected blow fell on Milosevic. With at least 32 municipalities, including Belgrade, he lost his opposition. Due to his high handedness, he could not accept the defeat and with immediate effect annulled the election based on irregularities. In response to this, many Serbians were agitated by Milosevic’s decision and flooded the streets in agitation to oppose the resolution. Additionally, the students of Belgrade University organized marches all the way to the capital; a decision that was welcomed by other students in the other cities. Three-month intense protests took place led by both the students and Zajedno leaders. Moreover, the international community also mounted pressure on Milosevic leading to him showing a white flag in 1997 and allowed the elected leaders to assume office.
In July 23rd, 1997, Milosevic ran for office and was elected as the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which was a combination of both Serbia and Montenegro. In the following year, the Serbian parliament amended laws that were meant to bar both academic and media freedom. Consequently, a group of students from the Belgrade University formed a resistance known as Otpor. The formation was as a step to create a democratic Serbia that would be free from the rule of Milosevic and be able to participate in the rest of Europe.
Reflecting on the occurrences that took place in Serbia, the domestic political scene may not have been so appealing. However, the demonstrations on the streets and the Belgrade capital opposing Milosevic’s oppressive rule were strategic and depicted more order. The marches were carried out in peace, and no violence was reported. In the end, those who had been duly elected to office assumed their duties after a series of demonstrations. Although justice had been frustrated, it had been brought into being due to the persistence of students and opposition.
The Torture of Darrell Cannon
Reviewing events of the year 1983; November 2nd, Darrell Cannon who was a murder suspect was abducted by three members of the charter of Chicago police Commander Jon Burge torture crew. He was driven to an isolated location and tortured. The form of torture involved pressing of an electric cattle prod against his testicles. Additionally, the three charter members rammed an unloaded gun in Darrell’s mouth and pulled the trigger thrice. Consequently, he was lifted using the handcuffs that were fixed in his hands on his rear side. In a different location, the members also passed a cattle prod into Darrell’s mouth and beat him up with a police flashlight. Finally, all these inhumane events led to Cannon falsely accepting the charges pressed on him. Eventually, the process led to the filing of a lawsuit in the city of Chicago that has never been won up to date.
It was an unfortunate action when Cannon falsely accepted the charges and was convicted of a murder which led to a life sentence. However, through his layers, he was able to win the first trial through reversal of the conviction. In contradiction, he was also convicted in a second trial. By this time, Cannon’s lawyers had gathered at least 28 newly discovered torture cases by the same bunch of charter members. Fortunately, the court granted a new hearing for Cannon using the smoking gun from his lawyers. In 2004 after the case had returned to the trial court, it was dismissed by delays. After a long legal battle, Cannon was released in 2007 which was over two decades after his arrest.
While still entrenched in the Illinois prison, Cannon had filed a handwritten complaint trying to vindicate his constitutional rights in the federal court and demanding for compensation in the form of money from his torturers. In 1988 before the torture evidence had surfaced, Cannon was granted a value settlement of $3000 netting $1247.
After exoneration in 2004, Cannon additionally demanded compensation for two decades of torture which was watered down by police defendants claiming that he had received a settlement agreement before. Furthermore, there were four more cases filed against the city officials which they managed to settle but could not offer Cannon any settlement amount.
Injustice is widely depicted above in that no more compensation was awarded to Darrell Cannon. Although there were attempts by the city council to help, the efforts were entirely frustrated in the argument that Cannon could not be given an extra share of the apple. Violence is evident in the torture Cannon had been going through. The parties involved never came into agreement up to date, and this can be termed as one of the worst police scandals that have ever happened in Chicago.
Chicago’s New Center For Police Torture Victims
Standing within the vicinity of the new center for police torture victims in Chicago, Darrell Cannon soundlessly remembered his past encounter with Chicago police detectives at least three decades ago. He vehemently recalled how he was repeatedly interrogated about a murder case he had no role in for roughly eight hours. He also had in mind of the torture he had gone through and had to falsely accept being involved in a murder that he was not part. Other thoughts that were flashing through his mind was how the murder conviction was overturned never to find a ruling up to date.
From that experience, Cannon still regrets and faces deep pain for spending 24 years in prison; something that many people urge him to let go. He insisted on staying mad and tearing claiming that he was human and as long as he had breath on his body, fairness needed to be guaranteed.
Cannon who presently an age of 66 has suffered under Commander Jon Burge of Chicago police. This commandant is accused of torturing more than 100 people most of them being black Americans from the south side with the aim of forcing them to confess falsely. The torture accusations began to surface after Mayor Richard M. Daley was the state attorney. The controversial state lasted for several decades as the city council was trying to fight the claims. Up to date, the city has spent $100 million in settlements, judges and other legal processes.
In 2015, the city council made a move of acknowledging the victims through approval of $5.5 million settlement package. The process was engineered by Mayor Rahm who wanted to wipe away the dark past of Chicago torture experience. This step paved a way to the opening of a justice center whose aim was to provide mental health and management of cases. According to statistics, there are at least 60 Burge cases.
Today, Cannon serves as an outreach director for this center. The opening of the center stirred painful memories and today; he firmly k8believes that no one should suffer for there to be justice. This center is located in Englewood, Lowe Avenue. The center boasts of providing therapy to people who need healing or legal assistance due to police misconduct. Everyone who has undergone police brutality is encouraged to feel free and seek help from the center.
In reflection to the above information, Chicago state had been widely affected by police brutality mainly under commander Burge. Finding justice was entirely frustrated as seen in the case of Darrell Cannon. Up to date, Cannon still nurses the pain that he went through 24 years in prison. He vividly recalls the acts of violence he was subjected through by commandant Burge and his men. We can see injustice, lack of peace and violence depicted around Chicago and many cases have not been resolved up to date.
https://tavaana.org/en/content/year-life-won-serbia-otpor-movement-against-milosevic-0. Accessed 5 November, 2017.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/g-flint-taylor/darrell-cannon-case_b_1722150.html. Accessed 5 November, 2017.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-burge-torture-justice-center-met-20170526-story.html.Accessed 5 November, 2017.