Secret Police Torture and Detention Center

A secret detention center run by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) was under the spotlight at a first-of-its-kind hearing Tuesday.

While protesters demonstrating against police brutality blocked city streets, elected officials from Chicago’s Cook County held the first public hearing about Homan Square, an ‘off-the-books’ interrogation facility revealed earlier this year by The Guardian.

The investigation found that CPD denied constitutional rights to at least 7,000 victims, some of whom were tortured and sexually abused.

Detainees, activists, and legal advocates testified, while invited CPD representatives were no-shows.

The inquiry by Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin follows the firing of Chicago’s police chief Gerry McCarthy by Mayor Rahm Emanuel earlier this month.

Protesters have focused on the cover-up of damning video that shows white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, but Homan Square is part of a broader campaign to address police tactics.

“The Justice Department’s investigation must take into account those systemic issues in the Chicago police department that go back decades,” Boykin said on Tuesday. “Homan Square is one of those systemic issues.”

Homan Square is not part of the US justice department’s initial investigation into the racial bias at the CPD, but Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the allegations “extremely important” and said she could expand the scope of her probe to include the black site “if more information were to come to light”.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, like Emanuel, was hand-picked by President Barack Obama, so it’s not clear if how hard she will probe his former chief of staff.

Flint Taylor has been fighting police brutality and murder in Chicago for nearly 50 years as co-founder of the People’s Law Office. He’s now leading the charge against Homan Square.

“Some of the activities in Homan Square fit into the definition of torture, internationally, under the UN’s definition,” Taylor told The Guardian. “Homan Square needs to be looked at under that light.”

Two men who claimed they were illegally held at the facility and denied basic rights by the arresting officer also testified.

“There they interrogated me, asking me things that I had no idea about, for murder and you know, if

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