You have been detained by heavily armed men in military gear. Your friends and family don’t know where you are and are unable to find any information on your whereabouts. You are shackled to a bench, interrogated, and beaten. Making a phone call or seeing an attorney is not even up for consideration. You have no idea how long this will go on.
While this may sound like the type of treatment that can be expected for an ISIS militant at CIA black site, it is actually Chicago.
In an exclusive obtained by The Guardian, activist Brian Jacob Church discusses his experience being detained in Chicago’s Homan Square, a secretive facility used by the Chicago police that he had been taken to after being arrested following the 2012 NATO summit protests. “When you go in nobody knows what happened to you. It’s almost like they throw a black bag over your head and make you disappear for a day or two” he explained, while detailing to The Guardian the abuse and constitutional violations he witnessed.
Church is one of the “Nato Three,” a group of activists that faced terrorism-related charges for their protest activities at the summit. The group was cleared of all terror-related charges after defense attorneys, aided by undercover police recordings, successfully argued that the three were simply boisterous “goofs” that had been being goaded on by undercover cops. They were instead charged with mob action and arson.
At least one man has died while detained in Homan Square. Attorneys and The Guardian have been denied access to the facility.