An explosive report by the Guardian alleges that the Chicago police department has run an off-the-books interrogation facility for more than a decade, where the accused are “unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.” More:
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.
The most compelling case against big government can be found in cases like these, at the heart of cities that long have been controlled by the big government-loving Democratic Party. Chicago is the political home of President Obama, now run by his former Chief of Staff. Democrats have ruled the city for decades, including such liberal icons as Harold Washington. The police doing all this unconstitutional treatment were protected from charges of malfeasance by the public sector union movement that Democrats robustly support. Their supervisors were appointed by Democratic elected officials, many of whom built their careers on attacking the GOP for its alleged indifference to the problems of poor urban dwellers. We suspect that those held and mistreated at this facility are disproportionately members of minority groups; this is standard operating procedure in blue model cities long under Democratic rule.The Homan Square scandal should remind us that governments don’t work very well, and that big city governments under long term Democratic rule generally work less well than others. This wasn’t happening in Alabama; this wasn’t the KKK targeting minorities. This isn’t uncaring white suburbanites mistreating urban minorities. It happened in the most liberal city in one of the most liberal states in the country.But we shouldn’t be surprised that a Democratic urban machine failed its prisoners. Look at what happens in Chicago schools. And Chicago, whatever its problems, is nowhere near the bottom tier of American cities when it comes to incompetent government.Blue model “progressives” are always sure that big and complicated government programs can and will fix complicated and difficult social problems. They are always sure that the people who are skeptical about these programs are evil racists who hate the poor. And they are always surprised when the inevitable happens, the programs don’t work, and the institutions go wrong.