[News] Homan Square is Chicago's new 'House of Screams'
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 13 18:53:00 EDT 2016
Homan Square is Chicago's new 'House of Screams' | Flint Taylor
Flint Taylor April 13, 2016
When your local police station is nicknamed the “House of Screams”, you
know you’ve got a problem. That’s what a Chicago police station in the
south side was known as several decades ago, when police detectives,
working with the now notorious Jon Burge, routinely took young
African-American men into custody there. Now, a new House of Screams
exists in Chicago. It’s called Homan Square
Back in the 1970s and 80s, men were often kept sequestered from their
family and lawyers for hours and days while Burge and his colleagues
interrogated them, using tactics that included electric shock
suffocation, brutal beatings with batons and other instruments, “Russian
with a handgun and death threats.
The station had numerous interrogation rooms on the second floor, with
old-fashioned steam radiators that would burn the skin, a garage with
dingy holding cells and a dark, foreboding basement. Men were tortured
in all of these locations, as well as at a remote torture site.
were obtained, false police reports were filed, perjured
testimony was routinely offered, and scores of men, many of them
innocent, were sent to prison – some to death row – as a result. At
least one man, Jessie Winston, died under questionable circumstances.
Documents disclosed in Guardian lawsuit reveal for first time how
Chicago police used punches, baton blows and Tasers at the off-the-books
<http://socialistworker.org/2011/06/30/racism-killed-his-family> and a
politically powerful mayor joined in promoting a broad-based cover-up,
repeatedly denying that there was anything untoward happening. The
torturers were commended and promoted, while a complicit police
disciplinary agency exonerated the torturers in each and every
An investigative journalist wrote extensive exposés setting forth the
mounting evidence uncovered by the torture victims’ lawyers, evidence
which established that the torture was systemic. Activists demonstrated,
but the local mainstream media, for the most part, ignored the scandal,
and the cover-up continued for another 20 years.
Sound familiar? This past year, in the shadow of the Laquan McDonald
police shooting scandal, investigative reporters from the Guardian and
their lawyers have exposed, in numerous articles, that Chicago’s history
of torture and cover-up is repeating itself, this time at Homan Square.
As the Guardian has documented, Homan Square, named after a notorious
Chicago slumlord Samuel Homan
until recently, a secret site where thousands of people of color have
been – and apparently still are – held and interrogated for hours, “off
the books”, often without being under arrest.
Jaime Galvan is the second person known to have died at the secret
interrogation site. Family and friends contend that the official autopsy
and police report don’t add up
They are handcuffed to a wall in dark and foreboding rooms and cells,
with inconsistent access to food, drink or access to bathroom
facilities. The Guardian’s continuing investigation reveals that when
this sensory deprivation does not yield sufficient cooperation, the
police interrogators all too often employ physical brutality that meets
the United Nations Convention Against Torture’s definition of torture.
Cases of tasering, which is a very real form of electric shock,
suffocation, anal rape
beatings with batons
threats with a weapon
and questionable deaths
while in custody are now all on the public record. And, once again, we
see police officers committing perjury and innocent victims being
charged with crimes that they did not commit.
Most recently, the Guardian has obtained police reports that purport to
document some of these cases, but they are laced with self-serving
falsehoods. The latest shameful iteration of the CPD’s disciplinary
agency – and the CPD’s supervising officers – have exonerated the
alleged torturers in each and every case that they chose to report. This
time the mayor is Rahm Emanuel, not Richie Daley, but the official
denials of wrongdoing sound eerily familiar.
The local media – beaten on this story too many times to count –
continues to studiously ignore both the facts that outline another
police torture scandal in the making, and demonstrations by local
activists who seek to draw the obvious connections between the history
of Chicago <http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/chicago> police torture,
the current Laquan McDonald police shooting scandal and Homan Square.
Activists, progressive politicians, Homan Square victims and their
lawyers have urged the Department of Justice’s civil rights division to
broaden its nascent investigation of the policies and practices of the
Chicago police department to include Homan Square. Hopefully, with
continued scrutiny, activist agitation and a proper reading of Chicago’s
sordid police history, Homan Square will soon be shut down and justice
will be delivered – and the screams will stop.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the News