Chicago lockup claims: Handcuffed to walls, abused and kept from lawyers

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Source: CNN

Chicago (CNN)Kory Wright dreamed of being a Chicago police officer.

But his image of police was shattered when he was arrested on his 20th birthday as he was interrogated at a detention facility called Homan Square. Wright says he was zip-tied to a bench in an overheated room on a summer day and denied access to an attorney. He was charged with selling a controlled substance and placed on house arrest, he told CNN.

It would be four months before a judge ruled he was not guilty of the crime he was adamant he never committed.

“It was a farce from the beginning,” Wright says. “It ruined my life.”

Wright’s story is part of a large group of allegations involving citywide human rights violations during arrest and detention and comes amid growing scrutiny about the practices of the Chicago Police Department.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last month that Homan Square was not within the scope of the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the patterns and practices of the Police Department. But she did say the department could choose to expand the investigation if further details came to light that brought up Constitutional concerns.

But Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin is perhaps taking the most aggressive step to ensure allegations such as those leveled by Wright and others aren’t swept under the rug. He introduced a resolution before the Board of Commissioners on Wednesday to call upon the Justice Department to change its stance and include several civil rights allegations at Homan Square in its investigation.

The measure passed.

Boykin has toured Homan Square and called it “eerily quiet” with “cramped lock-up spaces that resembled cages.” He said the lack of fingerprint equipment in the facility is proof nobody should be taken there after being arrested.

The Chicago Police Department denies that Homan Square or any detention facility in the city violates people’s civil rights, sending CNN a fact sheet saying all allegations of abuse are not only “inaccurate” and “misleading” but “unequivocally false,” “offensive” and “not supported by any facts whatsoever.”

But Wright and others say their stories tell the truth about a disturbing lack of access to basic civil rights.

‘I thought I was going to jail for murder’

Wright says he was getting his hair braided on his aunt’s porch early in the morning on June 2005 when police officers pulled up and jumped out of their cruisers. They rushed toward the house, handcuffed him and a friend and drove them away to a detention facility.

“I didn’t even know I was arrested; they just put the handcuffs on me and searched me,” he says.

Wright maintains he was not read his Miranda rights before being taken to Homan Square on Chicago’s west side. The large facility, formerly a massive retail warehouse, has been used by the Chicago Police since 1999.

“One of the officers implied it was going to get hot, and it did,” said Wright.

He says he was interrogated in a small room, while his left hand was zip-tied to a bench; the room temperature, he remembers, was high enough to keep him sweating. Officer after officer, he says, asked him about the details of a murder and drug cases he didn’t know anything about.

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Categories: America, Crime, The Muslim Times, USA

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