Chicago Police Accused of Operating CIA-style Black Site

Originally published on February 27, 2015, at NationofChange.org

According to British newspaper The Guardian, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) has been detaining U.S. citizens at a secure facility while denying access to defense attorneys and committing human rights abuses. Accused of using excessive force to coerce confessions and leaving detainees shackled for prolonged periods, the CPD has denied breaking any laws or violating suspects’ rights. But marred with a history of abuse and corruption, law enforcement officials within the CPD have been caught torturing people for decades.

In an article published this week, The Guardian exposed a detention facility located within a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s West Side known as Homan Square. Formerly owned by Sears, Roebuck & Co., the building also houses CPD’s Evidence Recovered Property Section, Bureau of Organized Crime, SWAT unit evidence technicians, and ballistics lab. But according to arrestees and defense attorneys, suspects are detained at the site while kept out of official booking databases and denied access to legal counsel.

On May 16, 2012, the CPD arrested Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “NATO 3,” and detained him at Homan Square. Instead of entering Church’s arrest into an official booking database, officers reportedly left his wrist cuffed to a bench with his legs shackled together for approximately 17 hours. Denying him access to his attorney, the police repeatedly interrogated Church without informing him of his Miranda rights to remain silent.

“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 recalled.

Continue reading

Advertisements

UN Torture Report Condemns US Human Rights Abuses

Originally published on December 1, 2014, at NationofChange.org

The United Nations Committee Against Torture released a report addressing a myriad of human rights violations committed by the U.S. government. While commending President Obama for qualifying enhanced interrogation techniques as torture, the U.N. Committee decries his administration’s lack of transparency, refusal to prosecute, and inability to prevent rampant abuse.

In its first review of the U.S. since 2006, the U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment held hearings in Geneva throughout November. U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council Keith Harper and State Department Acting Legal Adviser Mary McLeod gave statements during the proceedings, while the parents of Michael Brown testified against police brutality.

“The United States is proud of its record as a leader in respecting, promoting, and defending human rights and the rule of law, both at home and around the world,” stated McLeod. “But in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values, including those reflected in the Convention. As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that.”

In the conclusion of its report, the Committee applauded President Obama’s statements qualifying enhanced interrogation as torture at a press conference on August 1. The president admitted, “In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did things that were contrary to our values.”

Continue reading