The Guardian broke the story of an alleged CIA-like “black site” operating secretly within the Chicago Police Department in Homan Square this past Tuesday.
A black site is an “enhanced interrogation” facility that until recently had only been thought to exist outside of America, and thus outside American legal jurisdiction.
The U.S. harbored a handful of these sites during the Iraq invasion, in countries such as Afghanistan and Syria, and of course the infamous Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
To say these facilities are inhumane would be redundant. To say the Homan Square facility is unconstitutional would be a gross ?understatement.
Controversy about Chicago PD's investigation tactics began when it came to light that longtime Chicago detective and U.S. Naval reservist Richard Zuley had been responsible for implementing egregious acts of torture in Guantanamo.
Investigations into Zuley highlight a 2013 dismissal by Illinois State Attorney Anita Alvarez of wrongful ?convictions by the detective.
Those in power are learning the hard way that under the right conditions, you can force anyone to say anything in ?order to be let free.
Lathierial Boyd was convicted of murder in 1990, and was finally exonerated in 2013 after Alvarez’s ruling.
Boyd, referencing the frequency of racial slurs and hate speech directed at him during interrogation, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Zuley, accusing him of planting evidence and withholding critical information.
Some of the tactics used in Homan Square include keeping arrestees out of official booking databases, shackling for prolonged periods, beatings by police, denying attorneys access and holding people between 12 and 24 hours without any legal council.
Matthew Dodge, an attorney who represented Brian Church, a man who was apprehended in 2012 for terrorism charges he evaded at trial, got inside the facility.
According to Dodge, the latticework through which he spoke to Church was smaller than the typical backyard fence. Church had “just a floor and a cage.” All of the police he saw inside wore plainclothes, which mirrors the façade of the facility’s nondescript appearance, void indication that it’s a police operation.
Police have been operating this facility outside of police specific districts since the late 1990s.
Sam Bagenstos, former principal deputy assistant attorney general to the Obama administration, is voicing concern for “a possible pattern or practice of violations of the fourth and fifth amendments” that ?warranted an inquiry.
The use of secret, and largely ineffectual, interrogation techniques implemented post-9/11 is carving out an explicit narrative of American exceptionalism; when we use inhumane techniques, it’s for justice, but when others use them, it’s for terrorism. For how long may we be on both sides of the fence before those in power are held accountable, or something far more sinister takes place?
Note from the Editor: An earlier edition of this column inaccurately linked Kathleen Zellner to the Homan Square investigation. She is not linked in any way to the Homan Square cases. Richard Zuley also has no known affiliation to Homan Square. The IDS regrets this error.
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