ROAM AGENCY

THE TORTURE MACHINE
Racism and Police Violence in Chicago

Flint Taylor

Haymarket Books (Spring 2018, world English rights)

Paper • ISBN-13: 9781608468959 • US $27 • 8.5 in x 5.5 in • 350 pgs.

READ: Uncovering the Truth About a Raid on the Black Panthers (LitHub, Feb, 2019)

ABOUT THE BOOK:

With his colleagues at the People’s Law Office (PLO), Taylor has argued landmark civil rights cases that have exposed corruption and cover-ups within the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and throughout the city’s corrupt political machine.

The Torture Machine takes the reader from the 1969 murders of Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton and Panther Mark Clark—and the historic, thirteen-years of litigation that followed—through the dogged pursuit of commander Jon Burge, the leader of a torture ring within the CPD that used barbaric methods, including electric shock, to elicit false confessions from suspects.

Joining forces with community activists, torture survivors and their families, other lawyers, and local reporters, Taylor and the PLO gathered evidence from multiple cases to bring suit against the CPD officers and the City of Chicago. As the struggle expanded beyond the torture scandal to the ultimately successful campaign to end the death penalty in Illinois, and obtained reparations for many of the torture survivors, it set human rights precedents that have since been adopted across the United States

PRAISE:

“a riveting account…a forensic analysis of decades of collusion between judges, politicians, prosecutors and the police to engage in systemic human rights violations.”

Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now!

“In this compelling book, Taylor details the high-profile Black Panther case and the 31 years the PLO pursued another notorious situation, the use of torture by Chicago police to secure false confessions. The legal pursuit of Chicago police detective Jon Burge and his accomplices crossed paths with the ambitions of Chicago politicians, including mayors Jane Byrne and Richard M. Daley. Taylor chronicles the winding course of the investigation and prosecution, including conflicts with a biased judge, surreptitious help from a police officer PLO dubbed Deep Badge, and the unveiling of the police practice of “street files,” unofficial reports not made available to defense attorneys as required by the U.S. Constitution, files that might have exonerated the accused. Through a long series of attempts in a quest that gathered more and more accusers, the PLO steadily built a case that ultimately triumphed with numerous exonerations and a far-reaching influence on international human rights.”

Booklist, Starred Review

“[A] harrowing tale of the author’s 13-year crusade with the PLO….Sparing no details, Taylor reveals the police force’s reign of terror and the Gestapo-like interrogation tactics administered by Lt. Jon Burge and his squad of ‘confederates.’ Taylor illuminates in graphic detail the scars caused by some of the worst elements of law enforcement in a city perpetually beset by violence.”

Kirkus

“Flint Taylor’s powerful new book…is a must read.”

Bryan Stevenson

“Flint Taylor’s searing memoir is a chilling reminder of American law enforcement’s enduring commitment to silencing black voices and torturing black bodies in the name of “order.” It is also a most powerful and moving account of the courageous community members, activists, and movement lawyers who have given their lives to make sure that those same voices are heard, and that some measure of justice can be had. From the moment, fifty years ago, when law enforcement murdered 21-year-old Fred Hampton as he slept in bed, to the more recent fight to hold Jon Burge and the Chicago PD accountable for brutalizing hundreds of people in their custody over the last thirty years, Torture Machine is essential reading for all who care about this country—past and future.”

Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy

“If it was not for Flint Taylor I would still be languishing in prison. He brought hope to a hopeless place.”

Darrell Cannon, torture survivor

“If you want to understand what actually happened to those Jon Burge tortured read this book.”

Anthony Holmes, torture survivor

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Flint Taylor is a founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago. He is one of the lawyers for the families of slain Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark and has represented many survivors of Chicago police torture over the past thirty-one years. Taylor was also trial counsel in the landmark civil rights case against the KKK, Nazis, and Greensboro, North Carolina police for the 1979 murder of five anti-Klan demonstrators. A lawyer for the people, Taylor has spent nearly fifty years fighting for justice, from the courtrooms of Cook County to the US Supreme Court.

RIGHTS INFORMATION:

Please contact subagents for the following languages and territories:

Language/Territory Subagent
China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and VietnamBig Apple Agency
English outside North AmericaDavid Grossman Literary Agency
GermanPaul & Peter Fritz AG Literatur Agentur
GreekRead n' Right Agency
HebrewThe Deborah Harris Agency
ItalianThe Nabu International Literary Agency
JapaneseThe English Agency (Japan) Ltd
KoreanBC Agency, or Korea Copyright Center
PortugueseRIFF Agency
Russia/Baltics/Eastern EuropePrava I Prevodi
Scandinavia: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, IcelandBrandt New Agency
Spanish in Latin AmericaInternational Editors' Co., S.A.
Spanish in SpainInternational Editors' Co., S.A.
TurkishAnatolialit Agency

For all other languages/territories, please contact Roam Agency.