Chicago, IL- Allegations of physical abuse and denial of Constitutional rights of suspects held at the closely guarded Homan Square warehouse in Chicago have led to lawyers claiming that such accusations are not limited to one particular facility and it is a problem spread throughout the city.
The descriptions of abuse at Homan Square, including shackling of arrestees for prolonged periods, suspects suffering head wounds while in holding, and officers holding suspects-even minors- without access to an attorney are not unique to this specific building, according to veteran criminal defense attorney Richard Dvorak. Dvorak said that “Everything that was described [in the Guardian story] was something that happens every day. I think it’s pretty systemic throughout CPD.”
First Defense Legal Aid Executive Director Eliza Solowiej also said the problems were not necessarily worse at Homan Square than at other police precincts. “It’s not just this facility. This is a citywide problem,” she said.
Criminal defense attorney Robert Loeb suggested that other Chicago detective headquarters may have more problems with inappropriate detention and interrogation tactics than at Homan Square.
The Chicago Police Department responded to The Guardian’s story revealing abuse allegations at Homan Square in a statement:
Homan Square is a facility owned and used by the Chicago Police Department. The facility is considered sensitive because many officers who operate there are often involved in undercover assignments, and advertising their location could put their lives at risk. Other sensitive units housed at the facility include the Bureau of Organized Crime, SWAT Unit Evidence Technicians, and the CPD ballistics lab.
CPD abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square or any other CPD facility. If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them. It also houses CPD’s Evidence Recovered Property Section, where the public is able to claim inventoried property. There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square. The allegation that physical violence is a part of interviews with suspects is unequivocally false, it is offensive, and it is not supported by any facts whatsoever.
Loeb said that “The denial that the police spokesman made was way over the top and unjustified because we do know from those terrorism cases that there were abuses,” and added that “Whether or not it’s some [black site] plot? OK, I might be skeptical of that.”
Since The Guardian’s story about Homan Square was published, at least two more detainees have spoken about their time at the building. Alleging that he was detained upon suspicion of selling drugs, a man named Kory Wright told The Intercept that he was never read his Miranda rights, no paperwork was filled out, his fingerprints were not taken, and he was zip-tied to a bench. Deandre Hutcherson, who was taken along with Wright, said a Chicago officer stepped on his groin, hit him in the face several times and then kicked him in the genitals during interrogation.
Benswann.com will be keeping a close eye on developments regarding Homan Square and other “black sites”.