Report: Cops’ Domestic ‘Black Site’ Uncovered in Chicago
Obama’s old stomping grounds in Chicago are suddenly in the throws of a potentially huge police scandal.
A major investigation by The Guardian has uncovered a domestic “black site” compound where police allegedly shackled and beat illegally held detainees, all while preventing access to a lawyer and keeping the whole thing off the books.
In one case, the investigation alleges, a man died after spending time in the “interview room.”
Several attorneys told The Guardian they were barred from speaking to their clients. They said people just disappeared and later emerged with no explanation. This all allegedly went down in a warehouse in West Chicago known as Homan Square.
“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Brian Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three” who was held at the compound in 2012 for suspicion of terrorism, told the Guardian Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”
Church claims police held him at Homan Square for 17 hours cuffed to a bar in a cell with his ankles cuffed together while they repeatedly interrogated him. He says he wasn’t allowed to make contact with anyone.
“I had essentially figured, ‘All right, well, they disappeared us and so we’re probably never going to see the light of day again,’” Church told The Guardian.
Church was later transferred out of the facility and found not guilty of terrorism related charges, though he did serve two-and-a-half years in prison for possessing an incendiary device and charges of “mob action.”
John Hubbard, 44, was taken into Homan Square in February of 2013. He allegedly was found unresponsive in the interview room and later died. The cause of death was reported as heroin intoxication by the Cook County Medical Examiner.
This scandal comes as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was forced into a runoff election for Chicago mayor when he didn’t get a majority of the vote, a significant political blow.
Though Chicago police ignored The Guardian’s request for comment, they gave the publication a statement when the story broke.
“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,” the department told The Guardian. “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 said, claims the validity of which numerous attorneys and one Homan Square activist have denied.
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