Chicago’s Homan Square Is The Embodiment of Police Unaccountability

A recent report from The Guardian exposed a black site run by the Chicago Police Department. It’s a place where people go to disappear for a while. A place where constitutional rights seemingly do not exist. From what people have said about the facility based on first-hand accounts, the facility is a place where you’re not allowed to see a lawyer, make any phone calls, and worst of all, no record of you being there exists. The non-existent public records make it difficult for lawyers to find their clients. Essentially, those who are unlucky enough to be brought to “Homan Square”, an old warehouse in Chicago, essentially disappear.

At least one person has died at this facility, which is said to have brought in someone as young as 15. Another described being shackled to a bench for 17 hours. The abuses that occur at this “black site” include police beatings, prolonged shackling, denying the right to an attorney, and keeping those arrested out of any official arrest databases. After their stay at the facility, a person is either sent to a police precinct for a proper booking, or is put back out on to the street.

Homan Square is also said to be home to a fair amount of CPD’s military equipment as well.

For quite a while now, police have done a pretty good job demonstrating to the citizens they are supposed to serve that they do everything but serve the community. Across the nation, they seem to abuse their power almost daily. From shooting unarmed citizens, to harassing people with little to no cause, they do it all. Sure, its not all of them, but it seems to be a lot of them. This black site in Chicago is a step above all of the other abuses. This is Chicago, not Guantanamo Bay.

The problem with Homan Square is that it should not exist in the first place. Citizens of the United States are entitled to see an attorney upon being arrested, and have the right to remain silent. This facility seems to eliminate the idea of rights, and allows the police to do whatever they wish with little to no accountability.

The secretive nature of the facility, which is said to have begun operations in the late 90s, is what enables this lack of accountability. They don’t tell anyone about what goes on there, and deny any claims that anything illegal goes on in the facility. They’ve ensured no one can prove one way or another what goes on in there, although if you read The Guardian article, you find out that even attorney’s know first-hand what goes on at this place. The describe police inflicted head injuries, and being denied access to their clients. People have even been denied entry into the building.  A secretive police facility makes it very easy for these abuses to occur. 

No matter what offence the person may have been brought in on, they still need to be properly booked. They need to be in a public arrest database so lawyers can locate their clients. This is something that occurs at normal police precincts, but Homan Square is exempt from this practice. Why? The CPD doesn’t feel they need to elaborate on that, instead they claim this doesn’t happen. They make these claims in the face of attorneys and arrestees who tell a completely different story.

This is one of the biggest glaring examples of the lack of police accountability in the United States. The CPD has essentially created a facility free of any accountability. They’ve ensured the public, which funds their operations, cannot attempt to keep them accountable. They’ve made certain lawyers are essentially powerless while their clients are at this facility, and ensured the arrestee cannot defend their rights, because at Homan Square, those rights do not apply.

The United States is a civilized nation that grants its citizens rights. Rights that should make a facility like Homan Square non-existent. Those arrested do not need to disappear, finding themselves in a police facility where accountability is non-existent. This is a facility where police can do whatever they want. That is a problem.

There is no way anyone can claim there is a need for a police facility like Homan Square to exist in America. The United States doesn’t need a police facility where people go to disappear. Why aren’t regular police precincts good enough? Why do standard arresting procedures, like allowing access to an attorney not apply at this facility? It screams “massive lack of accountability”, and the fact that such a facility can exist in the United States is a scary thought. Aren’t these types of facilities supposed to exist elsewhere, in a faraway place? Instead, there is a black site in Chicago.

It’s outrageous that a facility such as Homan Square exists. A police black-site shouldn’t exist anywhere in the United States. There is far too much potential for abuse, with the incredible lack of accountability. If police are busy abusing their power out on the streets, it’s pretty safe to say that creating a facility free of any accountability for police is an incredibly bad idea. Being arrested should not mean someone goes to “disappear” for a while. The scary question that must be asked now is: How many other police black sites exist in the United States? There is a good chance that Chicago isn’t the only city that is home to one and that’s a scary thought.

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