Documents disclosed in Guardian lawsuit reveal for first time how Chicago police used punches, baton blows and Tasers at the off-the-books interrogation site, known as Homan Square. (Guardian photo)
Police documents show that the Chicago police department operates a secret interrogation compound where officers use physical force on mostly African American prisoners.
Police used punches, knee strikes, elbow strikes, slaps, wrist twists, baton blows and Tasers at Homan Square against the detainees, theGuardian reported on Monday.
The British newspaper said it gained access to the documents in the course of its transparency lawsuit about the interrogation warehouse, what civil rights lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.
According to the documents, over 7,300 people, more than 6,000 of them African Americans, have been detained and interrogated at the site without a public notice of their whereabouts or access to an attorney.
Some detainees even say they were sexually abused by the officers.
The new information contradicts an official denial about treatment of prisoners at the off-the-books interrogation compound.
Documents also include the account of a man who died in police custody under questionable conditions, with his family believing that police killed him and covered it up.
The Guardian has conducted a series of investigative reports about the site, known as Homan Square facility on Chicago’s west side, which the newspaper says is used to isolate suspects from family members or proper legal counsel while they are interrogated.
“Not much shakes me in this business – baby murder, sex assault, I’ve done it all,” David Gaeger, an attorney whose client was sent to Homan Square in 2011 after being arrested for marijuana, told the Guardian in October of last year during a separate investigation by the newspaper about Homan Square.
“That place was and is scary. It’s a scary place. There’s nothing about it that resembles a police station. It comes from a Bond movie or something.”
The Chicago police officially deny using violence against detained men and women.
Those familiar with the site, however, list a range of abuses which have taken place, including police beatings and prolonged shackling. Because suspects taken to Homan Square are not officially booked, there is no record of their location.
The United States
has suffered from an epidemic of racial discrimination throughout its history, which some experts say has increased after the election of President Barack Obama.