Chicago police have operated a secret prison-like compound where they detain, interrogate, and torture U.S. citizens in what lawyers call a domestic equivalent to a CIA “black site,” an exclusive investigation by the Guardian revealed on Tuesday.
A “nondescript warehouse” on Chicago’s west side, known as Homan Square, is in fact a secret facility used by special police units to hold people without entering them into official booking databases, explains Guardian reporter Spencer Ackerman, who also revealed the brutal regime of former Chicago police officer and Guantánamo Bay guard Richard Zuley last week.
At Homan Square, according to the report, detainees are beaten, shackled for prolonged periods of time, and denied access to attorneys and other constitutional rights. Some of those held at the site have been as young as 15 years old. At least individual was “found unresponsive in an ‘interview room’ and later pronounced dead,” Ackerman reports.
One man, Brian Jacob Church, was turned over to local police to be officially booked and charged after spending roughly 17 hours handcuffed to a bench and interrogated at Homan Square, without being read his Miranda rights. Church was taken into custody along with Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly on May 16, 2012 after the three took part in a protest against the NATO summit in Chicago which was infiltrated by officers.
Church’s experience was apparently standard for the operation. Ackerman writes:
Homan Square is not used solely for so-called “terrorism” cases. Police have reportedly conducted anti-drug and anti-gang operations at the facility, bringing suspects into the compound for off-the-books interrogation. Ackerman continues:
As criminologist and civil rights activist Tracy Siska noted, the cases of Homan Square and Richard Zuley, as well as the growing trend of police militarization, parallel the abuses that take place overseas in prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay.
Chicago’s Cook County received roughly 1,700 pieces of military equipment through the Pentagon’s controversial 1033 program, through which the federal government disperses surplus weapons, tanks, and other materials used in war.
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