The Chicago Torture Story Gets Even Worse

Not only did a Chicago police detective travel to Gitmo to help torture detainees there, but my former AINN colleague Spencer Ackerman reported on Tuesday that the Chicago PD maintains its own black site where they torture criminal suspects during interrogations.

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

This report is very long, please read the whole thing. None of this should be a surprise. Chicago has a long and sordid history of police brutality, racism and torture.

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  •!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    I’m sure we’ll have the “Obama is tearing up the constitution!” types demanding something done about this any minute now…

  • grumpyoldfart

    My prediction:

    Not one torturer will be arrested. Not one!

  • Modusoperandi

    Take comfort in the fact that, undoubtedly, the Many Good Eggs will kick the Few Bad Eggs out of the basket. By turning their back on the Mayor if he mentions it, probably.

  • theguy

    I wasn’t going to comment; I thought Modusoperandi said everything I could’ve said but more succinctly.

    I’ve got one observation to make. The claim that we’ve ended torture, that we’ve ended the torture regime under President Bush, looks rather hollow right now. I’m not saying that Obama knew about this. I really have no idea. But now it looks like Bush didn’t start torture, he just mainstreamed torture.

    Now you see a large fraction of society and many politicians who will openly defend the use of torture, whereas before Bush they might have simply turned a blind eye to its use.

    I really don’t know how to end it. If I were the dictator of Chicago, I’d probably fire or arrest half the cops there. That might not even be realistic or feasible to do, but there’s far more than a few bad apples, and all cops who abuse their authority need to be held accountable.

  • Modusoperandi

    theguy, Bush didn’t mainstream torture. He made it Partisan. By failing to prosecute, Obama mainstreamed torture.

  • felidae

    What other use, other than looking up phone numbers, did the Chicago Police have for the approximately 3 inch thick Chicago phone book? Answer: coercing confessions. If a suspect was hit over the head with the book, causing intense pain from spinal compression, he would tell you anything you wanted to hear and it rarely took more than 3 blows to do the trick, all without leaving a mark.