Rally for Aaron Patterson Outside the Prison Gates

By: Noreen McNulty

"It's the best way to celebrate my birthday," said Aaron Patterson of the demonstration that took place in front of the gates of Pontiac Prison in Illinois one day after he turned 34.

More than 40 people rallied outside the prison, holding placards and chanting "Free Aaron Patterson" on July 11.

"Everyone inside the prison knew the rally was going on, and people got real excited," Aaron said. "It was like - look we can really do something."

Wrongfully accused 12 years ago of murder, Aaron was beaten and tortured by Chicago police in a 25-hour interrogation. Patterson was a victim of Jon Burge, a police commander who was fired for torturing more than 40 Black men into confessions. Protesters pointed out that Aaron is one of the 10 known victims of Burge on Illinois' death row. These 10 men have recently come together to form the Death Row Ten Committee.

This coming winter, Aaron's case will go to the Illinois Supreme Court for the second time. We need to pack the courtroom when his case comes up again.

If you would like petitions or more information about Aaron Patterson or the Death Row Ten, please write to:

P.O. Box 25730
Chicago, IL 60625