Monday, April 11, 2016

Inside the secret violence of Homan Square

Internal documents from the Chicago police department show that officers used physical force on at least 14 men already in custody at the warehouse known as Homan Square.

Police used punches, knee strikes, elbow strikes, slaps, wrist twists, baton blows and Tasers at Homan Square, according to documents released to the Guardian in the course of its transparency lawsuit about the warehouse. The new information contradicts an official denial about treatment of prisoners at the facility.

The injured men are among at least 7,351 people – more than 6,000 of them black – who, police documents show, have been detained and interrogated at Homan Square without a public notice of their whereabouts or access to an attorney.

None of the men identified in these newest documents had fled custody or were injured in the course of a lawful arrest. All were subject to force by Chicago police officers after they were already in custody at Homan Square. According to depositions with officers and more than two dozen first-hand accounts, handcuffing is standard. Police applied force to some arrestees sufficient enough to warrant hospitalization.

Some of those injured by police inside Homan Square told the Guardian they had experienced chronic pain or impairment years later. One said he was instructed by police to lie about his strangulation, which police claimed on an official form resulted from the already handcuffed man “manag[ing] to put another flex cuff around his neck”.

The Chicago police department, now under federal investigation after suppressing video evidence of its lethal shooting of 17-year old Laquan MacDonald, last year took exception to the Guardian’s reporting about the Homan Square warehouse.

While the department conceded that it uses the warehouse headquarters for the organized-crime bureau as a site for conducting “interviews”, it “unequivocally” denied using violence on detained men and women.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/11/homan-square-chicago-police-internal-documents-physical-force-prisoner-abuse

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