Category Archives: Police State

Children of the American Police State: Just Another Brick in the Wall

By John Whitehead Follow Me on Twitter

Police State

 

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone …
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.
–Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall”

The nation’s young people have been given front-row seats for an unfolding police drama that is rated R for profanity, violence and adult content.

In Arizona, a 7-year-old girl watched panic-stricken as a state trooper pointed his gun at her and her father during a traffic stop and reportedly threated to shoot her father in the back (twice) based on the mistaken belief that they were driving a stolen rental car.

In Oklahoma, a 5-year-old boy watched as a police officer used a high-powered rifle to shoot his dog Opie multiple times in his family’s backyard while other children were also present. The police officer was mistakenly attempting to deliver a warrant on a 10-year-old case for someone who hadn’t lived at that address in a decade.

In Maryland, a 5-year-old boy was shot when police exchanged gunfire with the child’s mother–eventually killing her–over a dispute that began when Korryn Gaines refused to accept a traffic ticket for driving without a license plate on her car.

It’s difficult enough raising a child in a world ravaged by war, disease, poverty and hate, but when you add the police state into the mix, it becomes near impossible to guard against the growing unease that some of the monsters of our age come dressed in government uniforms.

The lesson being taught to our youngest–and most impressionable–citizens is this: in the American police state, you’re either a prisoner (shackled, controlled, monitored, ordered about, limited in what you can do and say, your life not your own) or a prison bureaucrat (politician, police officer, judge, jailer, spy, profiteer, etc.).

Unfortunately, now that school is back in session, life is that much worse for the children of the American police state.

The nation’s public schools–extensions of the world beyond the schoolhouse gates, a world that is increasingly hostile to freedom–have become microcosms of the American police state, containing almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, over criminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.”

If your child is fortunate enough to survive his encounter with the public schools with his individuality and freedoms intact, you should count yourself fortunate.

Most students are not so lucky.

From the moment a child enters one of the nation’s 98,000 public schools to the moment she graduates, she will be exposed to a steady diet of

  • draconian zero-tolerance policies that criminalize childish behavior,
  • overreaching anti-bullying statutes that criminalize speech,
  • school resource officers (police) tasked with disciplining and/or arresting so-called “disorderly” students,
  • standardized testing that emphasizes rote answers over critical thinking,
  • politically correct mindsets that teach young people to censor themselves and those around them,
  • and extensive biometric and surveillance systems that, coupled with the rest, acclimate young people to a world in which they have no freedom of thought, speech or movement.

Clearly, instead of making the schools safer, we have managed to make them more authoritarian.

Young people in America are now first in line to be searched, surveilled, spied on, threatened, tied up, locked down, treated like criminals for non-criminal behavior, tasered, and in some cases shot.

It used to be that if you talked back to a teacher, or played a prank on a classmate, or just failed to do your homework, you might find yourself in detention or doing an extra writing assignment after school.

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44 Percent of Texans Think U.S. Military Might Be Coming to Impose Martial Law

Joint Bulgarian US military training

The multistate training operation Jade Helm 15 will begin next month, and plenty of Texans still seem to think that this is all an elaborate ruse and the federal government is about to take over Texas — a state that is already part of a larger country that the federal government oversees. It wasn’t clear how many people thought that the U.S. military was building tunnels under abandoned Walmarts FEMA camps. Thanks to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, we now know that the answer is: “More than a few!”

Forty-four percent of Texas voters — including 31 percent of Democrats — think that it is very or somewhat likely that the federal government is sending troops to Texas and other states so it can impose martial law; 43 percent think it is likely that the federal government just wants to take their guns. 

Strangely enough, slightly fewer Texan voters thought that it was a good idea that Governor Greg Abbott sent the Texas State Guard to monitor the exercises, saying that it is “important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights, and civil liberties will not be infringed.” Thirty-nine percent of registered voters — and 85 percent of tea party Republicans — supported this move, while 32 percent had no opinion whatsoever. Although the difference between the number of people who think the government is coming to turn Texas into a socialist wasteland and those who think it is a good idea to monitor the military is within the margin of error, there’s always the possibility that a very small number of Texans think the government is coming to impose martial law and are ready to submit and declare allegiance, federalism be damned. 

If these people exist, we assume they might be friends with the people who sent aluminum-foil hat kits to Greg Abbott’s office instead of just filing a letter to complain about the Texas State Guard being deployed. 

The Texas Tribune

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Pity the poor storm troopers; Baby Bou Bou ambushed them

Posted on May 18, 2015 by William N. Grigg

Bou Bou Phonesavanh

This article was published originally by Pro Libertate

It was the baby’s fault that he was nearly burned to death in his own crib.

Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh was barely a year and a half old, just learning to walk and unable to speak, but those limitations didn’t stop him from engaging in “deliberate, criminal conduct” that justified the 2 a.m. no-knock SWAT raid in which he was nearly killed.

The act of sleeping in a room about to be breached by a SWAT team constituted “criminal” conduct on the part of the infant. At the very least, the infant was fully liable for the nearly fatal injuries inflicted on him when Habersham County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Long blindly heaved a flash-bang grenade — a “destructive device,” as described by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, that when detonated burns at 2,000 to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit — into the crib.

Merely by being in that room, Bou Bou had assumed the risk of coming under attack by a SWAT team. By impeding the trajectory of that grenade, rather than fleeing from his crib, Bou Bou failed to “avoid the consequences” of that attack.

In any case, Bou Bou, along with his parents and his siblings, are fully and exclusively to blame for the injuries that nearly killed the child and left the family with more than $1 million in medical bills. The SWAT team that invaded the home in Cornelia, Georgia, on the basis of a bogus anonymous tip that a $50 drug transaction had occurred there is legally blameless.

This is the defense presented by Haberham County Sheriff Joey Terrell and his comrades in their reply to a federal lawsuit filed last February on behalf of Bou Bou and his family.

The lawsuit demands that the county make good on its initial offer to pay the medical expenses arising from the nearly fatal injuries inflicted on the child — and the significant but non-life-threatening injury suffered by his father — during the 2 a.m. home invasion that took place nearly a year ago. It also seeks suitable compensation to the family for the criminal mistreatment they suffered in the course of a Soviet-grade atrocity.

Nearly every lawsuit begets a “defendant’s reply” disputing all of the factual allegations and legal claims presented by the plaintiffs. Where the defendants are law enforcement officers, the objective is to build a case that the actions of the officers were “reasonable” and in compliance with established “policies and procedures” — and thus protected by “qualified immunity.” From this perspective, the assailants are innocent of all liability even though they did everything wrong — and the victims are fully to blame even though they did nothing wrong.

No evidence of any illegal conduct was found at the home as a result of the raid. The front yard and driveway of the residence abounded in evidence that children lived there — evidence so clear and compelling that even a police officer would have recognized it. The search and arrest warrant was issued at about 2 p.m. in the afternoon on May 27; this offered plenty of time for the vigilant and capable personnel of the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office to conduct surveillance of the targeted residence and even to arrest the suspect in more conventional fashion, assuming that this was necessary and justified.

The subject of the warrant, Wanis Thonetheva, was not at the residence when the storm troopers arrived. He was arrested on narcotics charges several hours later, in broad daylight and in unremarkable fashion, “at his actual place of residence, without any resistance and without the use of a flashbang stun grenade,” the lawsuit recalls.

At the time that arrest was being made, Bou Bou’s parents were just absorbing the horror of what had been done to the toddler by the assailants who had broken into their temporary home without cause and kidnapped the gravely wounded child.

Bou Bou’s father — in agony from a torn rotator cuff that resulted from being assaulted, thrown to the floor and shackled by one of the invaders — noticed some blood in the empty crib. The screaming child had been seized by the berserkers and taken away. The frantic parents were not allowed access to the traumatized and bleeding child — “officer safety” uber alles, you know. To cover the abduction, one of the officers on the scene did what comes naturally to highly trained police officers: He hastily improvised a self-serving lie.

“The parents were told by officers on the search team that their son had a tooth dislodged as a result of the search and that the blood that the parents saw in or about the area of the crib was due to the alleged tooth issue,” recounts the lawsuit. The parents “did not know the extent of their son’s injuries (and were not provided truthful information about them by the Plaintiffs) until they were told at the Hospital where their son was taken that he was in a coma.”

Yes, it is possible that one of the infant’s newly cut teeth had been “dislodged” by the stun grenade. What the people responsible for that act of abhorrent criminal violence did not mention was that the toddler also suffered “severe blast burn injuries to the face and chest; a complex laceration of the nose, upper lip and face, twenty percent of the right upper lip [was] missing; the external nose [was] separated from the underlying bone; and a large avulsion burn into the chest with a resulting left pulmonary contusion and sepsis.”

The sheriff’s underlings told Bou Bou’s parents that they had knocked out one of the baby’s teeth. They actually blew off his face and gouged a hole in his chest. Exhibit B in the lawsuit is an unbearable hospital photograph of the child in a medically induced coma immediately after the attack. The defendant’s reply to that piece of evidence is a denial that the photograph “accurately depicts the injuries allegedly sustained” by the infant.

Even if that photograph is a reliable depiction of those injuries, the baby only had himself to blame, according to Terrell and his band of privileged cretins.

Bou Bou is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, with his parents listed as co-plaintiffs. When the defendants claim that the damages caused to the child, “if any,” were “directly and proximately caused by the contributory and comparative negligence of the plaintiffs and their failure to exercise ordinary care,” they are blaming the baby for not foreseeing the possibility that he would be attacked by a SWAT team at 2 a.m. and burned alive in his crib.

When the defendants seek to deflect blame by claiming that “the deliberate, criminal conduct of [the] plaintiffs … supersedes any and all negligence or liability, if any, on the part of these defendants,” they are pretending to believe that the 19-month-old child was part of a criminal conspiracy.

In its “eleventh defense,” Terrell and his brownshirts let everything fly, invoking the doctrines of “assumption of the risk, failure to avoid consequences, laches, failure to mitigate damages, last clear chance, and sudden emergency.”

Reduced to its putrid essence, this compound defense amounts to a single claim: If you live anywhere within the claimed jurisdiction of a federally subsidized einsatzgruppe like the Mountain Judicial Circuit Narcotics Criminal Investigation and Suppression Team, then you are fair game for an after-midnight military raid, and you have only yourself to blame once it happens.

It doesn’t matter that the raid is the product of a dishonestly obtained search warrant issued on the basis of an anonymous tip from a petty criminal, or that no evidence of illegal activity was ever discovered. If your home is torn apart and your infant is nearly killed, you alone are responsible; and the gallant agents of public order cannot be held liable. This is true even in cases like that of the Phonesavanh family, who sought a temporary home with a relative in Georgia after their house in Wisconsin was claimed by a fire.

This is all covered by the “sucks to be you” provision of the “If you’re not a cop, you’re little people” doctrine.

Bobbing like feculent flotsam in the puddle of sewage that is the defendants’ “eleventh defense” is the term “laches,” which refers to an impermissible delay by a plaintiff in bringing forward a claim for damages.

This obviously doesn’t apply to the conduct of the Phonesavanh family in this case. They filed a timely notice of tort claim, and then proceeded to file the lawsuit after the Habersham County grand jury refused to hold the sheriff and his minions accountable — and after the county government broke its promise to pay for Bou Bou’s medical treatment.

The origins and usage of that obscure and archaic legal term do offer some insight about the way Bou Bou’s would-be murderers see themselves and their victim.

“Laches” is a term embodying the ancient legal maxim that “equity favors the vigilant, and not those who have slumbered on their rights.” Defendants who appeal to this oft-cited and little-applied concept are accusing plaintiffs of subjecting them to a form of “legal ambush.”

What Terrell and his cornpone chekists are claiming, in effect, is that while he was sleeping, Baby Bou Bou ambushed them.

–William N. Grigg

(My sincere thanks to the heroic Rev. John Pittman Hey for PACER research on this case.)

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http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site

 

 

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/us-news/video/2015/feb/24/homan-square-chicago-black-site-video

 

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site

While US military and intelligence interrogation impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles and even a cage – focuses on American citizens, most often poor, black and brown. ‘When you go in,’ Brian Jacob Church told the Guardian, ‘nobody knows what happened to you.’ Video: Phil Batta for the Guardian; editing: Mae Ryan

 

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

 

Held for hours at secret Chicago ‘black site’: ‘You’re a hostage. It’s kidnapping’

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The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three”, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged.

Chicago’s Homan Square ‘black site’: surveillance, military-style vehicles and a metal cage

 

“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”

The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown.

 

Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.

“It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.

Chicago civil-rights attorney Flint Taylor said Homan Square represented a routinization of a notorious practice in local police work that violates the fifth and sixth amendments of the constitution.

“This Homan Square revelation seems to me to be an institutionalization of the practice that dates back more than 40 years,” Taylor said, “of violating a suspect or witness’ rights to a lawyer and not to be physically or otherwise coerced into giving a statement.”

Much remains hidden about Homan Square. The Chicago police department did not respond to the Guardian’s questions about the facility. But after the Guardian published this story, the department provided a statement insisting, without specifics, that there is nothing untoward taking place at what it called the “sensitive” location, home to undercover units.

“CPD [Chicago police department] abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square or any other CPD facility. If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them. It also houses CPD’s Evidence Recovered Property Section, where the public is able to claim inventoried property,” the statement said, something numerous attorneys and one Homan Square arrestee have denied.

“There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square,” it continued.

The Chicago police statement did not address how long into an arrest or detention those records are generated or their availability to the public. A department spokesperson did not respond to a detailed request for clarification.

When a Guardian reporter arrived at the warehouse on Friday, a man at the gatehouse outside refused any entrance and would not answer questions. “This is a secure facility. You’re not even supposed to be standing here,” said the man, who refused to give his name.

A former Chicago police superintendent and a more recently retired detective, both of whom have been inside Homan Square in the last few years in a post-police capacity, said the police department did not operate out of the warehouse until the late 1990s.

But in detailing episodes involving their clients over the past several years, lawyers described mad scrambles that led to the closed doors of Homan Square, a place most had never heard of previously. The facility was even unknown to Rob Warden, the founder of Northwestern University Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, until the Guardian informed him of the allegations of clients who vanish into inherently coercive police custody.

“They just disappear,” said Anthony Hill, a criminal defense attorney, “until they show up at a district for charging or are just released back out on the street.”

‘Never going to see the light of day’: the search for the Nato Three, the head wound, the worried mom and the dead man

Homan Square

 

‘They were held incommunicado for much longer than I think should be permitted in this country – anywhere – but particularly given the strong constitutional rights afforded to people who are being charged with crimes,” said Sarah Gelsomino, the lawyer for Brian Jacob Church. Photograph: Phil Batta/Guardian

Jacob Church learned about Homan Square the hard way. On May 16 2012, he and 11 others were taken there after police infiltrated their protest against the Nato summit. Church says officers cuffed him to a bench for an estimated 17 hours, intermittently interrogating him without reading his Miranda rights to remain silent. It would take another three hours – and an unusual lawyer visit through a wire cage – before he was finally charged with terrorism-related offenses at the nearby 11th district station, where he was made to sign papers, fingerprinted and photographed.

In preparation for the Nato protest, Church, who is from Florida, had written a phone number for the National Lawyers Guild on his arm as a precautionary measure. Once taken to Homan Square, Church asked explicitly to call his lawyers, and said he was denied.

“Essentially, I wasn’t allowed to make any contact with anybody,” Church told the Guardian, in contradiction of a police guidance on permitting phone calls and legal counsel to arrestees.

Church’s left wrist was cuffed to a bar behind a bench in windowless cinderblock cell, with his ankles cuffed together. He remained in those restraints for about 17 hours.

“I had essentially figured, ‘All right, well, they disappeared us and so we’re probably never going to see the light of day again,’” Church said.

Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly, known as the ‘Nato Three’ Brian Jacob Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly, known as the ‘Nato Three’. Photograph: AP/Cook County sheriff’s office

Though the raid attracted major media attention, a team of attorneys could not find Church through 12 hours of “active searching”, Sarah Gelsomino, Church’s lawyer, recalled. No booking record existed. Only after she and others made a “major stink” with contacts in the offices of the corporation counsel and Mayor Rahm Emanuel did they even learn about Homan Square.

They sent another attorney to the facility, where he ultimately gained entry, and talked to Church through a floor-to-ceiling chain-link metal cage. Finally, hours later, police took Church and his two co-defendants to a nearby police station for booking.

After serving two and a half years in prison, Church is currently on parole after he and his co-defendants were found not guilty in 2014 of terrorism-related offenses but guilty of lesser charges of possessing an incendiary device and the misdemeanor of “mob action”.

It’s almost like they throw a black bag over your head and make you disappear for a day or two

Brian Jacob Church

The access that Nato Three attorneys received to Homan Square was an exception to the rule, even if Jacob Church’s experience there was not.

Three attorneys interviewed by the Guardian report being personally turned away from Homan Square between 2009 and 2013 without being allowed access to their clients. Two more lawyers who hadn’t been physically denied described it as a place where police withheld information about their clients’ whereabouts. Church was the only person who had been detained at the facility who agreed to talk with the Guardian: their lawyers say others fear police retaliation.

One man in January 2013 had his name changed in the Chicago central bookings database and then taken to Homan Square without a record of his transfer being kept, according to Eliza Solowiej of Chicago’s First Defense Legal Aid. (The man, the Guardian understands, wishes to be anonymous; his current attorney declined to confirm Solowiej’s account.) She found out where he was after he was taken to the hospital with a head injury.

“He said that the officers caused his head injuries in an interrogation room at Homan Square. I had been looking for him for six to eight hours, and every department member I talked to said they had never heard of him,” Solowiej said. “He sent me a phone pic of his head injuries because I had seen him in a police station right before he was transferred to Homan Square without any.”

Bartmes, another Chicago attorney, said that in September 2013 she got a call from a mother worried that her 15-year-old son had been picked up by police before dawn. A sympathetic sergeant followed up with the mother to say her son was being questioned at Homan Square in connection to a shooting and would be released soon. When hours passed, Bartmes traveled to Homan Square, only to be refused entry for nearly an hour.

An officer told her, “Well, you can’t just stand here taking notes, this is a secure facility, there are undercover officers, and you’re making people very nervous,” Bartmes recalled. Told to leave, she said she would return in an hour if the boy was not released. He was home, and not charged, after “12, maybe 13” hours in custody.

On February 2, 2013, John Hubbard was taken to Homan Square. Hubbard never walked out. The Chicago Tribune reported that the 44-year old was found “unresponsive inside an interview room”, and pronounced dead. After publication, the Cook County medical examiner told the Guardian that the cause of death was determined to be heroin intoxication.

Homan Square is hardly concerned exclusively with terrorism. Several special units operate outside of it, including the anti-gang and anti-drug forces. If police “want money, guns, drugs”, or information on the flow of any of them onto Chicago’s streets, “they bring them there and use it as a place of interrogation off the books,” Hill said.

‘That scares the hell out of me’: a throwback to Chicago police abuse with a post-9/11 feel

Homan Square

 

‘The real danger in allowing practices like Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,’ criminologist Tracy Siska told the Guardian. Photograph: Chandler West/Guardian

A former Chicago detective and current private investigator, Bill Dorsch, said he had not heard of the police abuses described by Church and lawyers for other suspects who had been taken to Homan Square. He has been permitted access to the facility to visit one of its main features, an evidence locker for the police department. (“I just showed my retirement star and passed through,” Dorsch said.)

Transferring detainees through police custody to deny them access to legal counsel, would be “a career-ender,” Dorsch said. “To move just for the purpose of hiding them, I can’t see that happening,” he told the Guardian.

Richard Brzeczek, Chicago’s police superintendent from 1980 to 1983, who also said he had no first-hand knowledge of abuses at Homan Square, said it was “never justified” to deny access to attorneys.

“Homan Square should be on the same list as every other facility where you can call central booking and say: ‘Can you tell me if this person is in custody and where,’” Brzeczek said.

“If you’re going to be doing this, then you have to include Homan Square on the list of facilities that prisoners are taken into and a record made. It can’t be an exempt facility.”

Indeed, Chicago police guidelines appear to ban the sorts of practices Church and the lawyers said occur at Homan Square.

A directive titled “Processing Persons Under Department Control” instructs that “investigation or interrogation of an arrestee will not delay the booking process,” and arrestees must be allowed “a reasonable number of telephone calls” to attorneys swiftly “after their arrival at the first place of custody.” Another directive, “Arrestee and In-Custody Communications,” says police supervisors must “allow visitation by attorneys.”

Attorney Scott Finger said that the Chicago police tightened the latter directive in 2012 after quiet complaints from lawyers about their lack of access to Homan Square. Without those changes, Church’s attorneys might not have gained entry at all. But that tightening – about a week before Church’s arrest – did not prevent Church’s prolonged detention without a lawyer, nor the later cases where lawyers were unable to enter.

The combination of holding clients for long periods, while concealing their whereabouts and denying access to a lawyer, struck legal experts as a throwback to the worst excesses of Chicago police abuse, with a post-9/11 feel to it.

On a smaller scale, Homan Square is “analogous to the CIA’s black sites,” said Andrea Lyon, a former Chicago public defender and current dean of Valparaiso University Law School. When she practiced law in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s, she said, “police used the term ‘shadow site’” to refer to the quasi-disappearances now in place at Homan Square.

I’ve never known any kind of organized, secret place where they go and hold somebody before booking for hours and hours

James Trainum, former detective, Washington DC

“Back when I first started working on torture cases and started representing criminal defendants in the early 1970s, my clients often told me they’d been taken from one police station to another before ending up at Area 2 where they were tortured,” said Taylor, the civil-rights lawyer most associated with pursuing the notoriously abusive Area 2 police commander Jon Burge. “And in that way the police prevent their family and lawyers from seeing them until they could coerce, through torture or other means, confessions from them.”

Police often have off-site facilities to have private conversations with their informants. But a retired Washington DC homicide detective, James Trainum, could not think of another circumstance nationwide where police held people incommunicado for extended periods.

“I’ve never known any kind of organized, secret place where they go and just hold somebody before booking for hours and hours and hours. That scares the hell out of me that that even exists or might exist,” said Trainum, who now studies national policing issues, to include interrogations, for the Innocence Project and the Constitution Project.

Regardless of departmental regulations, police frequently deny or elide access to lawyers even at regular police precincts, said Solowiej of First Defense Legal Aid. But she said the outright denial was exacerbated at Chicago’s secretive interrogation and holding facility: “It’s very, very rare for anyone to experience their constitutional rights in Chicago police custody, and even more so at Homan Square,” Solowiej said.

Church said that one of his more striking memories of Homan Square was the “big, big vehicles” police had inside the complex that “look like very large MRAPs that they use in the Middle East.”

Cook County, home of Chicago, has received some 1,700 pieces of military equipment from a much-criticized Pentagon program transferring military gear to local police. It includes a Humvee, according to a local ABC News report.

Tracy Siska, a criminologist and civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project, said that Homan Square, as well as the unrelated case of ex-Guantánamo interrogator and retired Chicago detective Richard Zuley, showed the lines blurring between domestic law enforcement and overseas military operations.

“The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,” Siska said.

“They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.”

 

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2 NYPD Officers Shot in the Head, Killed in Ambush on Cop Car in Brooklyn

Socialism is not the Answer

NoisyRoom.net

Al Sharpton, Bill de Blasio

Ex-NYPD Commissioner Kerik is right… De Blasio and Sharpton Have ‘Blood on Their Hands.’ They brought this on and they share responsibility for the deaths of these two officers. Last Saturday, two NYPD officers were assaulted by seven protesters who punched and kicked them. Now this. What did the race baiters expect? They begged for this to happen – they incited riots and violence and now two good men are dead. They were working overtime as part of an anti-terrorism drill in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Very dark irony at play.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a gang banger, nonchalantly walked up to the patrol car, pulled a gun and shot the officers. His Instagram page bragged about committing this atrocity 48 hours before he did the deed. First he shot his girlfriend in Baltimore… then he drove to New York and murdered two officers and then committed suicide in a subway station. This…

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Michael Brown’s Stepfather Tells Crowd, ‘Burn This Bitch Down’

After mom cries out in anguish and frustration on hearing the verdict, the ugly side of the protests rears its head.

In the wake of the St. Louis County grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the central tragedy of the case—the death of a young man—has often gone overlooked as the violence and the unrest and the politics have taken center stage.

For a while, this video bucks the trend, as the focus is on the teen’s death and a mother’s grief as she addresses a crowd of protesters near the Ferguson police station. Soon, though, voices from off camera begin shouting for retribution, not justice, chanting “Burn this b**** down.”

Where Brown’s father had called for peaceful protest in the days leading up to the decision, his stepfather, the man in green and white who eventually steps into the frame, clearly does not. He leads the calls for violence and begins building anger in the crowd.

In the moments before Brown’s mother is led away through the chaos, we may just be witnessing this demonstration’s turn from peaceful to destructive.

Video screenshotCLICK ON LINK TO VIDEO….

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