People disappear for hours at a time, and at least one person has died under unexplained circumstances according to a Guardian report
The Guardian national security editor Spencer Ackerman has been covering the story of former Chicago detective turned Guantanamo interrogator Richard Zuley, documenting a history of alleged police abuse before Zuley took over the brutal interrogation of Mohamedou Ould Slahi. But today Ackerman brought the story full circle with what appears to be an American black site call Homan Square, used by the Chicago police to hold prisoners without documenting their presence or giving them access to lawyers.
At least one unexplained death related to Homan Square
Ackerman focuses on the story of Jacob Church who was arrested in 2012 while protesting a NATO summit and then spent 17 hours cuffed to a bench without being charged or allowed to contact anyone. His lawyers spent twelve hours looking for their client before even finding out that Homan Square existed, and it took several more hours to get him transferred to a normal police station to be booked. Ackerman cites several other lawyers who say they were denied access to their clients and that police at Homan Square withhold information about prisoners’ whereabouts.
The most disturbing story comes from February 2013 when John Hubbard was found unresponsive in a Homan Square interrogation room and then died after being taken to a nearby hospital. There was no official cause of death or clear reason why Hubbard had been detained in the first place, and it doesn’t seem like anyone has seriously looked into the matter before Ackerman started looking into it.
Homan Square another example of police/government overreach
In recent years we’ve learned a lot about NSA surveillance of American citizens thanks to Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing gotten an unprecedented amount of detailed information about the US torture program abroad thanks to the heavily redacted Senate report (which makes you wonder what was so bad we weren’t allowed to read about it). A surprising number of Americans bought the argument that torture was justified because it was being used in the war against terrorism, but the existence of a black site in Chicago highlights how abusive practices in one area end up elsewhere whether you want them to or not. It’s telling that Jacob Church was accused of terrorism (a charge that he beat) once he was let out of Homan Square and taken to a normal police precinct.