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Ex-Cop: Chicago Police Should Shut Down Alleged 'Black Site'

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 08:38 PM

If Chicago police really do employ a secret compound for detaining and interrogating people off the books, as a British newspaper reports, they are violating basic due process and raising the question of whether other cities run similar operations, says a former Atlanta police officer turned lawyer.

Marc Harrold said that he has never heard of anything comparable to the covert Chicago detention facility depicted in The Guardian, and he told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Wednesday that in the post-9/11 era it is necessary to ask if Chicago is an outlier.

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Chicago police are denying that criminal suspects were secretly interrogated, kept from their lawyers and sometimes beaten at the facility known as Homan Square.

The Guardian also reports that one person died while being held incommunicado at this "domestic equivalent of a CIA black site."

"City councils, politicians and community leaders around the country need to ask, 'Is our city doing this?' " said Harrold. "Is this just the tip of the iceberg or is this one city that has a mentality that the ends justify the means?

"I honestly don't know," said Harrold. "I have never heard of this and … when I first read the report, I really was surprised. … All these tactics I'm reading about now, I do find those hard to believe, even coming from a law enforcement background."

At the same time, he said, "the line between the intelligence community, the military and federal police has been diminished, post-9/11, and now we're looking at a diminished line between state and local law enforcement, terrorism and intelligence."

"These lines are there for a reason," he said, adding that he could think of no legitimate reason to violate them by operating a municipal black site.

Violent crime in Chicago has become a national story, but Harrold said that if police there feel they desperately need help, they should lobby for more above-board resources.

"I personally worry a little bit about the militarization of police," he said, "but … if you have threats on the street, if you feel the cops are outgunned, then you need more cops.

You may need more visibility, you may need specialized units like SWAT."

Eliminating arrest procedures and protections for the accused is not a valid response, he said

"The booking procedures, the Miranda warnings and all of these steps that are taken when you're arrested … you should be going through predictable steps so your counsel knows where you are and they can get to you," said Harrold. "All of those steps, those are the procedures that really make up due process."

"I understand people that think we need these extreme measures in extreme times," said Harrold. "But we have to be vigilant to guard our civil rights or what we're trying to protect will be lost."

Harrold also argued that police themselves have an affirmative duty to uphold civil liberties as diligently as protect people and property.

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If Chicago police really do employ a secret compound for detaining and interrogating people off the books, as a British newspaper reports, they are violating basic due process and raising the question...
chicago, police, black, website, violence
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2015-38-25
Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 08:38 PM
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