CHICAGO - An inmate who claims he was the victim of a notorious Chicago police commander was denied a shot at freedom Wednesday.
His conviction was vacated last year, yet Gerald Reed remains in prison in a wheelchair and still tortured, his family says, by being locked up for 29 years for a crime he didn't commit.
"If the police had done a better job of watching their officers, my son wouldn't be in jail today, not only him, a lot of other men,” said Reed’s mother Armanda Shackleford.
In 1990, Reed was convicted of a double murder on the South Side and sentenced to life in prison.
"They never had any evidence on my son, none, that's why they tortured him [into] a confession,” Shackleford said.
His mother says he was kicked so hard by police, a metal rod in his leg was broken in half. Abuse, she claims, at the hands of Chicago detectives working under Commander Jon Burge.
Burge was convicted in federal court of lying about his knowledge or torture. Reed's conviction was overturned last year based on his claims.
"It's so easy to get people locked up...for crimes they didn't commit, but it's so hard to get them out,” Shackleford said.
Time and time again, Cook County judges have delayed dropping charges that would lead to his release. They've even denied granting bail while special prosecutors work on a case to retry Reed.
"This is an African American man from the South Side who's been treated, first he was tortured, and now he's being tortured by the system for the last 30 years,” said Sarah Wild of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. "It's wrong, I don't like that, I have a problem with that and I'm so disgusted, whew."
The Fraternal Order of Police stands by the officers accused in Reed's case, suggesting multi-million dollar settlements for police misconduct have motivated claims of police torture.
The scandal involving Burge's men has cost taxpayers at least $115 million, according to the Chicago Tribune.