There’s a shocking story that came out yesterday about the Chicago Police Department using an unmarked warehouse called Homan Square on the West Side to hold certain suspects without arrest, without charges being filed and with no access to an attorney. It is essentially a CIA-like “black site” where cops could hold and interrogate someone without putting that person into the criminal justice system.
You’ll find an excellent article in the Guardian about Homan Square here, that provides a much more in-depth look at this unconstitutional travesty.
My first thought is, if Chicago has a place like Homan Square, isn’t it reasonable to assume that other large city police forces have similar facilities? Can Chicago be the only one? I doubt it.
As people interviewed in the article say, it sounds as if Homan Square was modeled after CIA black site interrogation facilities in the Middle East, although the practice of taking suspects “off site” for interrogations has been going on as far back as the 1970s. Why haven’t we heard about this before? One, the practice is generally reserved for poor people of color who are essentially voiceless in America. Two, those people detained at Homan Square understood that if they did talk about it, they could be taken back and disappeared.
Finally, this is one more glaring example of the militarization of America’s police forces. From combat gear to armored vehicles to black sites for off-the-record interrogations, the lines between keeping the peace and a police state grow blurrier by the day.