Homan Square

New Documents Reveal Details of Chicago Police Brutality at Homan Square

Lead image by Alex Freeman for The Fifth Column

Last year, there were a number of shocking allegations that the Chicago police were detaining suspects at their secret Homan Square facility, physically abusing them, and denying them access to lawyers. In total, 7,185 people were held at Homan Square in the past 11 years, 94.5 percent of them minorities. Now, internal police documents made public by The Guardian have revealed details of the violence that detainees at the facility suffered at the hands of the Chicago Police Department.

The documents detail acts of physical force, including punches, knee and elbow strikes, wrist twists, and the use of Tasers and batons against at least 14 men in police custody at Homan Sqaure. None of these men fled custody or were injured during a lawful arrest. All of the injuries described were inflicted by cops while the suspects were in custody. Some of the men had to be hospitalized for their injuries, and have reported continuing to suffer chronic pain and impairment years later.

Last year, the Chicago Police said that “the allegation that physical violence is a part of interviews with suspects is unequivocally false, it is offensive, and it is not supported by any facts whatsoever.” These newly released documents contradict that statement, proving that the police department already had documentation of force being used against at least these 14 men.

In several of the documents, cops reported that physical violence was necessary because of “attacks without weapon,” namely that the men spit on cops or tried to headbutt them or kick them while restrained. 40-year-old Mark Rideau said that cops choked him until he was unconscious with a flexible handcuff. The official police report said that Rideau somehow choked himself while handcuffed to a wall.

22-year-old Dwand Ivery, arrested for a drug distribution charge, was choked and forced to vomit by a cop who suspected Ivery may have swallowed his stash to hide it from them. Ivery, who is asthmatic, demanded medical attention, but police instead cuffed him to a metal bench. “I was struck with multiple blows with open and closed fist by two officers,” Ivery said. “My shoes was eventually removed and they began to strike me in my head and face area with those as well. I felt my face start to swell and deform instantly.”

In the official report, cops said that Ivery was “aggressive,” “attempting to kick” them, and that he “spit on and struck and kicked officers” while handcuffed. Ivery said that the beating “leaves me with a deformed face, lack of vision in my left eye and multiple mental health problems that I now have to be medicated for, including anxiety and depression. That situation changed my life in a number of different ways.”

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