Coming on the heels of a massive bombshell that exposed the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in allegedly operating a “black site,” two former DOJ officials are calling on the Justice Department to investigate, reported The Guardian.
The “black site,” which is located on Homan Square on Chicago’s west side, is a secretive warehouse where Chicago police officers would allegedly hold suspects captive, off-record and without legal counsel, for several hours at a time. Former DOJ civil rights official Sam Bagenstos said the allegations of a CPD black site “raised concerns about ‘a possible pattern or practice of violations of the fourth and fifth amendments.’”
Another former DOJ official, William Yeomans, said that the allegations brought forth by The Guardian report do merit a DOJ preliminary investigation. “I would certainly call on them to take a look at it, yes,” he said.
“It certainly raises the very serious question about whether there is a pattern of practice of constitutional violations, of excessive force, denial of right to counsel, coercive interrogations,” continued Bagenstos. “This is definitely the kind of practice that you would expect the Justice Department to look into.”
Many Chicago attorneys say that officers at the Homan Square black site turned them away from the warehouse before having a chance to meet with their clients, who were held inside. The Guardian noted that “prominent signage does not indicate that it is an official police facility.” The CPD has yet to make any comments directly related to The Guardian’s report.
After the news broke, the CPD released a statement saying it “abides by all laws, rules, and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square or any other CPD facility. . . There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square.”
However, there have been numerous reports of people being detained or interrogated at Homan Square “without . . . an official record of their detention by Chicago police.” The actions of the CPD have been considered to be “gestapo tactics.” Those tactics would consist of CPD officers allegedly abducting someone, and taking them to Homan, without any sort of due process or acknowledgement of rights, and remain held for long periods of time.
“You are just kind of held hostage,” said Vic Suter, who was held for 18 hours without seeing a lawyer. “The inability to see a lawyer is a drastic departure from what we consider our constitutional rights. Not being able to have that phone call, the lack of booking, makes it so that when you’re there, you understand that no one knows where you are.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel seems to be losing control of his city. Between record murder rates and the cops’ “gestapo tactics,” Chicago is more like a militarized zone. Perhaps he’s allowing the actions at Homan Square? Either way, this is only something an extensive DOJ investigation will uncover.