SCALE OF ‘SECRET’ ARRESTS REVEALED… At least 3,500 Americans have been detained in Chicago police warehouse…
Absolutely abhorrent that this can happen nowadays. Even more abhorrent though, is that it hardly comes as a surprise.
At least 3,500 Americans have been detained inside a Chicago police warehouse described by some of its arrestees as a secretive interrogation facility, newly uncovered records reveal.
Of the thousands held in the facility known as Homan Square over a decade, 82% were black. Only three received documented visits from an attorney, according to a cache of documents obtained when the Guardian sued the police.
Despite repeated denials from the Chicago police department that the warehouse is a secretive, off-the-books anomaly, the Homan Square files begin to show how the city’s most vulnerable people get lost in its criminal justice system.
People held at Homan Square have been subsequently charged with everything from “drinking alcohol on the public way” to murder. But the scale of the detentions – and the racial disparity therein – raises the prospect of major civil-rights violations.
Documents indicate the detainees are a group of disproportionately minority citizens, many accused of low-level drug crimes, faced with incriminating themselves before their arrests appeared in a booking system by which their families and attorneys might find them.
The Chicago police department has maintained – even as the Guardian reported stories of people being shackled and held for hours or even days, all without legal access – that the warehouse is not a secret facility so much as an undercover police base operating in plain sight. “There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is no different at Homan Square,” the police asserted ina March statement.
But an independent Guardian analysis of arrestees’ records, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, shows that Homan Square is far from normal:
Between September 2004 and June 2015, around 3,540 people were eventually charged, mostly with forms of drug possession – primarily heroin, as well as marijuana and cocaine – but also for minor infractions such as traffic violations, public urination and driving without a seatbelt.
More than 82% of the Homan Square arrests thus far disclosed – or 2,974 arrests – are of black people, while 8.5% are of white people. Chicago, according to the 2010 US census, is 33% black and 32% white.
Over two-thirds of the arrests at Homan Square thus far revealed – at least 2,522 – occurred under the tenure of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former top aide to Barack Obama who has said of Homan Square that the police working under him “follow all the rules”.
Contained within the statistics are stories of people held at Homan Square in and under questionable circumstances:
A 42-year-old civil rights activist says he was abducted by masked officers, shackled, held on false charges and “with no food, no water, no access to the outside world” at the behest of “covert operations”. He is one of at least 118 people whom police have detained at Homan Square since the Guardian exposed the warehouse’s usage as a detention facility in February. His wife described the ordeal as feeling their family had been “lost” by the police.
One young man, held at the warehouse for 14 hours without any public listing of his whereabouts, was just shy of his 18th birthday; the courts sentenced him to community service and probation.
Another man, not included in the disclosed data, said he fled Chicago after resisting police pressure to become an informant during multiple stints inside Homan Square.
The revelations are by no means a full accounting of police detentions at Homan Square, which Chicago has owned since 1995. The records only date from late 2004 and they exclude people eventually released without charge. After months of disputing the Guardian’s reporting, the Chicago police only made detailed information available after the Guardian sued them for it. Vast amounts of data documenting the full scope of detentions and interrogations at Homan Square remain undisclosed.
But longtime civil rights lawyers who reviewed the results of the Guardian’s lawsuit condemned Chicago police and politicians for sweeping Homan Square “under the rug of denial”. The Chicago police department did not respond to a detailed list of questions seeking to clarify its own records.
“I am extremely troubled but sadly not shocked at the exceedingly broad scope and fundamentally racist nature of the unconstitutional police conduct at Homan Square that the Guardian’s most recent study documents,” said Flint Taylor, who played a major role in pressuring Emanuel and the city to create a reparations fund for victims of police torture.
“Hopefully, Chicago’s political leadership and its establishment media will finally take notice and stop collaborating to bury this story, so righteously championed by the Guardian, under the rug of denial and false ignorance.”
Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/scale-of-secret-arrests-revealed-at-least-3500-americans-have-been-detained-in-chicago-police-warehouse/#VcB0JchTJUM52gpv.99