7,000 People Covertly Swept Up Into Secret Chicago Police Interrogation Center

Thursday, October 22, 2015
Chicago's Homan Square (photo Google Maps)

Chicago police detained more than 7, 000 people at a secret interrogation center where suspects are held incommunicado with no access to counsel.


Officers from narcotics, vice and anti-gang units used the building known as Homan Square on Chicago’s west side to interrogate 7,185 people from August 2004 to June 2015. The vast majority—more than 80%—of those held there were African American, according to The Guardian. The population of Chicago is 33% African American.


The Guardian also found only 68 of those held were allowed access to attorneys or to notify others of their whereabouts.


“Not much shakes me in this business – baby murder, sex assault, I’ve done it all,” David Gaeger, an attorney whose client was taken to Homan Square in 2011 after being arrested for marijuana, told the British newspaper. “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 facility keeps no booking information or any other records that might indicate who’s being held there. “The reality is, no one knows where that person is at Homan Square,” Craig Futterman, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School who studies policing, told The Guardian. “They’re disappeared at that point.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Homan Square Revealed: How Chicago Police ‘Disappeared’ 7,000 People (by Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian)

Civil Lawsuit Alleges Abuse at Chicago Police Homan Square Detention Center (Associated Press)

Chicago Police Accused of Running Secret Interrogation Center (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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