Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal new information about Homan Square, the “black site” where Chicago police officers detained and interrogated arrestees without booking them or giving them access to a lawyer. Among the revelations: People were taken to Homan for infractions as minor as selling a bootleg Jay Z album.
The documents also show that Homan detainees weren’t just inaccessible to their lawyers and loved ones while there—“not even the vast majority of the police force knew where they were,” the Guardian reports. The site is used primarily to interrogate suspects without the presence of an attorney, although things may be slowly changing. According to depositions given in a Guardian lawsuit against Chicago, a system for logging suspects into Homan—potentially making them discoverable to the public, or at least to other cops—may have been created this year.
According to police documents, at least 11 people observed by investigators for the Recording Industry Association of America selling bootleg CDs and DVDs (including Jay Z albums and Marvel’s Iron Man movie) were “taken to Homan Square for processing”. A woman was “transported to Homan Square for processing” after police observing a fencing location for stolen goods found her with “2 cans of Tasters Choice decaffeinated coffee with Walgreens anti-theft stickers”.
The documents also show that at least a dozen people were subjected to physical violence like punching and Tasering while detained at Homan, and at least two people died in custody there.