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Police Detained 7,000-Plus Chicagoans At 'Black Ops' Site: Report

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 19, 2015 8:23PM

The Chicago Police Department detained some 7,000 people—mostly African Americans—at its Homan Square facility on the city’s West Side, according to a new report from the Guardian. That’s more than double the number initially thought.

According to disclosures revealed to the Guardian as part of a lawsuit and investigation, some 6,000 of those detained at the site between August of 2004 to June of 2015 were black, with less than one percent of all 7,185 detainees at the site getting access to a lawyer. That place was and is scary,” said attorney David Gaeger, who had a client taken to Homan Square after a marijuana arrest.

“It’s a scary place. There’s nothing about it that resembles a police station," he said. "It comes from a Bond movie or something.”

The Guardian first brought more light to the site at the 3300 block of West Fillmore Street, along with some of the black-ops style interrogation techniques taking place there in February. Since then, dozens of people detained at the site have come forward to tell their stories, which include being shackled for hours at a time with no access to food, water or bathroom facilities, beatings and more.

Gaeger confirmed to the Guardian what others have speculated about and said about the lack of access to legal aid given to people taken to the facility, as well as the difficulty lawyers have in finding clients.

"Try finding a phone number for Homan to see if anyone’s there. You can’t, ever,” Gaeger told the Guardian. “If you’re laboring under the assumption that your client’s at Homan, there really isn’t much you can do as a lawyer. You’re shut out. It’s guarded like a military installation.”

Gaeger’s remarks are similar to those of Chicago lawyer Jerry Boyle, who spoke with Chicagoist in February. “Lawyers have known for a while that Homan is a black hole,” said Boyle…”If you get lucky, they might acknowledge they have your client.” Craig Futterman, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School told the British newspaper that people who end up at Homan Square are “disappeared at that point.”

Chicago police did not comment on the latest revelations, but in February assured everyone that everything done at Homan Square is totally above board and by the books.

Meanwhile, attorneys at the People’s Law Office have filed a lawsuit on behalf of three men held at the facility alleging that the “unconstitutional abuse” they suffered at Homan Square led to wrongful imprisonment. Among other things, the complaint alleges the plaintiffs were subject to threats to them and their families, racial epithets, strip searches, and denied access to food, water and bathroom facilities and lawyers. The complaint also alleges police held a knife to one man’s throat, and accuses several officers of fabricating and manufacturing “inculpatory evidence.”