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.