Homan Square

Homan Square (The Guardian)

Homan Square (Mother Jones)

It’s a facility run by the Chicago Police Department, out of a bland looking warehouse in Chicago’s west side. Out of it operates the headquarters of Chicago SWAT, organized crime units dealing with drugs and gangs. It also contains ‘several standard interview rooms’, though the facility ‘lacks a lockup facility, where mug shots and fingerprints of arrestees are normally taken. As such, arrestees are not fingerprinted at Homan Square’.

In reality, whatever other uses it has, it serves as a off-book holding facility to detain and interrogate individuals the Chicago Police Department wishes to keep off record, out of the system. Detainees are held without being mirandized, without being booked, denied their phone call, denied access to their legal representation. It has a reputation among lawyers in Chicago, if you can’t find your client, they’re probably being held there. Lawyers attempting to find their clients evidently are routinely turned away from the facility, because it is a ‘secure facility’.

Things like this are supposed to be an absolute no-go, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to the end of your career, for police.

This is the first I’ve heard of this, and the original story from The Guardian has been floating around since February of last year. I think the militarization of police in recent years has been pretty obvious. The lack of accountability for deaths caused by police is pretty well recognized at this point, I think. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a stark example in recent memory of such systematic and flagrant violation of fundamental principles of law enforcement in this country. Even when people are killed by police, you’ll always find police and district attorneys explaining how it was absolutely justified, or at least an unavoidable, utterly explainable mistake. Even Guantanamo Bay is defended on the basis of necessity. If there’s truth to this story, then this is completely indefensible.