Illinois: Chicago Police Used Marijuana To Disappear Young People
By Steve Elliott
Marc Freeman disappeared inside Chicago's Homan Square police warehouse for hours last year, but you wouldn't know that from his arrest report. His time in custody wasn't logged on the books until he appeared at another police station, seven hours after his arrest -- and his case isn't unique.
Chicago Police arrested Freeman at 3:35 p.m. on October 22, 2014, for possession of about two pounds of cannabis, report Spencer Ackerman and Zach Stafford at The Guardian. The police report states that Freeman was "transported to Homan for further processing," but it specifies nothing about his time at the secretive police compound, other than an official arrival time at 4:10 p.m., then a note that he arrived at nearby District 11 lockup at 10:32 p.m.
Freeman was lost to the outside world during the intervening hours, denied any phone calls, attorney visits or records of where he was by the police who held him captive. Shackled inside Homan Square, Freeman was neither booked nor processed at the secretive facility some have compared to the domestic equivalent of a CIA "black site."
"Stephanie" reportedly had a similar experience in 2010. Even after police got all the information they needed, they still handcuffed her to a metal bar inside a cell at Homan Square for nearly half a day while other officers told her frantic siblings they didn't know her whereabouts.
"I was so scared, I didn't even know if I could see a lawyer," Stephanie said. "I assumed that wasn't even an option, that whatever they say goes."
Stephanie's 12-hour ordeal happened after the cops had found one ounce of marijuana in her car.
The two stories indicate how police operating from Homan Square hold people incommunicado for hours -- on nonviolent marijuana offenses -- to pressure them to confess or to rat out others. Freeman's experience flies in the face of official police claims that all Homan Square detentions and interrogations are documented.
Stephanie was never charged with a crime, and Freeman was ultimately given probation for a misdemeanor. Their time in Homan Square was for both their first experience in police custody.
Stephanie said police took $700 in cash from her and cuffed her, without reading her rights, and drove her and her car to Homan Square. She was permitted to call her sister, but not allowed to say where she was. An officer ended the call after 45 seconds when they began speaking a foreign language.
She was finally released and taken to her car -- without her $700 cash -- nearly 12 hours after her arrest, and released without charges. "They stole her weed and they stole her cash," said her sister, Lisa.
Freeman said his time at Homan Square "makes me not trust the police. It really makes me feel like there's a double standard, and that we as citizens have to hold to the laws but the police do not," he said. "If this keeps going unchecked, it'll never go away."
Graphic: The Rundown Live