Chicago’s "Black Site" Police Scandal Is Primed to Explode Again

Mother Jones

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Over the past couple of weeks, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been busy doing damage control related to his administration’s botched handling of Laquan McDonald’s killing by police. Last week, the mayor fired his top cop and begrudgingly welcomed an investigation by the Department of Justice. On Monday, after a high-ranking detective stepped down (plenty of critics have been calling for Emanuel’s head, too), officials released video from last October’s fatal police shooting of Ronald Johnson (another black man), and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch accepted Emanuel’s invitation, announcing a DOJ probe into the Chicago Police Department’s use of force. The biggest remaining question is whether the DOJ—or the mayor, for that matter—will tackle the city’s other major police scandal.

It began in February, when UK newspaper the Guardian published the first in a series of articles questioning doings at a Chicago police detention facility known as Homan Square. Police hold and interrogate suspects at the facility, a former Sears warehouse in a predominantly black, low-income neighborhood on the city’s West Side. But it’s neither jail nor booking station. Attorney Flint Taylor described Homan to me as “an intelligence gathering place” akin to a CIA “black site.” In October, he filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of three clients who allege they suffered unconstitutional abuses while detained there.

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Chicago’s "Black Site" Police Scandal Is Primed to Explode Again

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