A recently published investigation of one Chicago warehouse has unearthed the existence of a CIA-style black site, where local police bring arrestees to keep them out of databases, beat and shackle them, and deny them access to legal counsel.
According to The Guardian reporter Spencer Ackerman, Homan Square has long been a scene of secretive work and interrogation by special police units, particularly anti-drug and anti-gang forces. Individuals familiar with the facility cited several abuses carried out by officers at the warehouse, including beatings resulting in head wounds and denying people as young as 15 legal counsel.
Ackerman noted that nobody brought to Homan Square is booked and most detainees are poor, Black and brown American citizens. The report also claims that at least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.
“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Brian Jacob Church, a previously detained protester, told The Guardian. Church was allegedly held and restrained for about 17 hours and interrogated without access to an attorney at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid.
“It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East,” he said. "The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”
Ackerman wrote that much remains hidden about Homan Square. Initially, the Chicago police department did not respond to the Guardian’s questions about the facility.
But after Ackerman’s article was published, the department reportedly issued a statement claiming, without specifics, that there is nothing untoward occurring at what it called the “sensitive” location, home to undercover units.
“CPD [Chicago police department] abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square or any other CPD facility. If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them. It also houses CPD’s Evidence Recovered Property Section, where the public is able to claim inventoried property,” the statement reportedly said, something numerous attorneys and one Homan Square arrestee denied when speaking with Ackerman.
“There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square,” the statement added.
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