According to a report published this week, the Chicago Police Department has been using a warehouse to interrogate (and allegedly beat) suspects off the record.
The report, published earlier this week by the Guardian, claims that Chicago police purposely take suspects to Homan Square so they're never booked. Once there, they're subjected to brutal treatment, including being shackled for extended periods of time, beaten, and denied legal counsel. What's more, the Guardian reports that at least one man died after being found unresponsive inside of a room inside of the building. To be specific, the Guardian refers to Homan Square as "the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site":
Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the Nato Three, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged.
Homan Square is definitely an unusual place, Church told the Guardian on 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.
One lawyer told the Guardian that it's pretty well-known within the city's legal circuit that if a client can't be located in the system, they're likely at Homan Square. "It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place—if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there," Julia Bartmes explained.
The Guardian notes that, although the Chicago Police Department brushed off questions about Homan Square, they insist that nothing barbaric takes place at the warehouse. They also maintain that it's used for 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. There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square.
[via The Guardian]