More than 100 people, including community leaders got together in Chicago on Saturday Feb. 28 to protest against the Homan Square police facility, accused of detaining Chicago citizens without giving them the right to speak to their families or to a lawyer.
Hacktivist organizations such as Anonymous and Black Lives Matter also joined the movement known as #Gitmo2Chicago, asking for the shutdown of Homa Square and access to the police warehouse, a place that up until now was kept away from public eyes.
The one who now needs to come up with explanations is Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago who, during his second term campaign, has been talking about police reforms.
Throughout the week witnesses and lawyers gave claims regarding police detaining people at Homan Square for long periods of time without giving them the right to an attorney or the possibility of calling family members. There were also cases of restraining and physical abuse.
Brian Jacob Church, the first of many arrested and held at Homan Square was not able to attend Saturday’s march. He was one other the “Nato Three” who came to Chicago to protest against a 2012 NATO summit. He was arrested and kept in confinement at Homan Square for 17 hours before being sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Although not being present at Saturday’s protest, a statement was left on his behalf:
“Today you are standing here because basic humanity has been disregarded in the grossest fashion. We hear about things like this happening in other countries … but we never expect them to hit so close to home.”
One of the lead organizers of Saturday’s manifest, Travis McDermott, talked about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows for individuals suspected by the government of being involved in terrorist attacks to be detained. He added that this act was the primary reason why a police facility such as Homan Square was still operating.
He explained how, through the NDAA “they have no threat of accountability; they can’t be expected to exercise self-restraint”. He added that officers operating under this act can deny all accusations, leaving only a “battle of confidence between the people who have witnessed it and those protecting it.”
McDermott continued by saying that the object of this protest is to obtain evidence because “the burden of proof now rests on the Chicago police department.”
Image Source: The Guardian