Chicago police have allegedly been secretly detaining and abusing suspects at a "black site," reminiscent of CIA torture of foreign suspects overseas, says a new report.
According to The Guardian, people cannot be reached by family or attorneys while being detained inside a warehouse in an area of Chicago known as Homan Square.
People with knowledge of the facility told The Guardian that Chicago police use the warehouse to keep people out of official booking databases, beat and shackle suspects, deny lawyers access to clients, and hold suspects (as young as 15) for up to 24 hours.
One unidentified man was allegedly found unresponsive in the interview area of the warehouse and later pronounced dead.
Brian Jacob Church, a protester who claims he was held in the warehouse, told The Guardian, "Homan Square is definitely an unusual place. It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them 'black sites.' It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you."
IBTimes.com reported in Dec. 2014 about CIA "black sites" overseas, where suspects were held "off the grid" in secret facilities, interrogated and tortured. This claim was based on a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report.
Suspects in Chicago are allegedly held "off the grid" as there are no searchable databases that record anyone being held at the Homan Square warehouse.
"It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place, if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” claimed Lawyer Julia Bartmes.
"This Homan Square revelation seems to me to be an institutionalization of the practice that dates back more than 40 years of violating a suspect or witness’ rights to a lawyer and not to be physically or otherwise coerced into giving a statement," added civil rights Attorney Flint Taylor.
The Chicago Police Department refused to answer any questions from The Guardian about the the warehouse.
When a reporter from The Guardian went to the warehouse, a guard, who refused to give his name, said, "This is a secure facility. You’re not even supposed to be standing here."