Chicago Police Accused of Operating CIA-style Black Site

Originally published on February 27, 2015, at

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

Ex-Cop Sentenced to Life in Prison for Torture Chamber Conspiracy

Originally published on December 14, 2014, at

A former Chicago police officer has been sentenced to life in prison for plotting to kidnap, torture, extort, and murder a businessman to acquire his real estate holdings. Steven Manning, who changed his name to Steven Mandell, received a life sentence and the death penalty years ago for kidnapping two drug dealers and murdering a truck company owner, but those convictions were overturned on legal grounds involving the admissibility of evidence at his trials, not because of innocence. Although they cannot prove his guilt, law enforcement officials believe Manning has murdered at least eight people since resigning in disgrace from the Chicago Police Department.

In 1983, Officer Manning was convicted on theft charges involving an auto insurance fraud scheme using luxury cars. After his conviction, Manning resigned from the police department and began working for a drug dealer named Anthony Mammolito. In 1984, Mammolito hired Manning, former Willow Springs police officer Gary Engel, and Thomas McKillip to rob a rival drug dealer named Charles Ford. Posing as federal drug agents, Manning, Engel, and McKillip kidnapped Ford and his associate Mark W. Harris.

Blindfolded, Ford and Harris were held captive for 14 hours until Ford’s sister paid $55,000 for their ransom. The kidnappers released them in a cemetery next to an open grave. Ford and Harris never reported the incident fearing retaliation and a possible investigation into their own illegal activities.

Continue reading