Protests Today at Homan Square
- Allegations that the Chicago Police Department abuses the rights of people that police detain for questioning have been a central element of the notorious police misconduct issues in this city for decades.
[...] So when a British newspaper published a series of articles last week alleging that the Police Department uses its Homan Square facility on the West Side as a "CIA-style interrogation black site" where detainees disappear for hours on end, the claim left many experienced criminal defense and civil rights attorneys scratching their heads.
- Richard Dvorak, a veteran criminal defense attorney, said the problem was widespread, but he was unaware of any issue unique to Homan Square.
[...] Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who has spent years researching — and litigating — police misconduct cases in Chicago, said the "black site" rhetoric may be an exaggeration that obscures the broader problem.
He echoed the claim by Dvorak that police routinely play cat-and-mouse games with detainees and their right to legal representation at district stations and detective area headquarters all over the city.
Robert Loeb, a criminal defense attorney who teaches at DePaul University College of Law, said Homan Square may actually be less likely than detective area headquarters to have long-standing problems with improper detention and interrogation techniques. Many of the arrests handled through Homan Square are narcotics-related, cases that tend to rely less on the need for witness or suspect statements that often prompt prolonged detentions.
The typical Homan Square cases are "not the kinds of cases where they're holding people for so long," Loeb said. "If it was huge numbers (of complaints, lawyers) would be hearing it all the time."