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Chicago rights activist: Local reporters didn’t cover police ‘black site’ because they agreed with them

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Chicago reporters failed to cover a police “black site” where suspects were held without access to legal representation because they sided with the authorities, a local activist and criminologist told The Atlantic on Tuesday.

“I think that many crime reporters in Chicago have political views that are right in line with the police,” Tracy Siska said. “They tend to agree about the tactics needed by the police. They tend to have by one extent or the other the same racist views of the police — a lot of urban police (not all of them by any stretch, but a lot of them) embody racism.”

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Siska is the head of the Chicago Justice Project, a non-profit group that works toward improving police transparency in hopes of improving community relations.

As The Guardian reported earlier in the day, local attorneys have called the police warehouse, known as Homan Square, as the equivalent to a CIA-style facility. Siska said that local police accountability activists believe it started operating during former police superintendent Phil Cline’s tenure “around 2006 or 2007.”

Most of the detainees at the facility, he said, were young men of color who could not afford to hire their own attorneys at the time of their arrest.

“Ninety-nine percent of the people from this site are involved in some form of street crime: gang activities, drugs—urban violent crime,” Siska told the Atlantic. “That’s what makes the site even worse. It takes Guantanamo-style tactics on urban street criminals and shreds the Bill of Rights.”

According to the Guardian, detainees inside Homan Square were beaten, denied counsel, shackled for hours and kept off of local arrest databases. But Siska said that his group won a rule change last year requiring police to log any arrestee into police records within an hour of reaching any facility. Arrestees must be logged in again if they are switched to another facility.

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Siska’s organization posted a link to the piece on its Facebook page, stating, “This is a story CJP has been trying to get the Chicago press to cover for years now. For some reason the press in Chicago just refused to cover the story.”

Both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported on Tuesday night that authorities denied the allegations in the Guardian‘s story, calling them “offensive.”

“CPD abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square or any other CPD facility,” police spokesperson Marty Maloney said in a statement. “If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them. There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square.”

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Neither newspaper has responded to Siska’s allegation regarding the local press as of Tuesday night.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Giuliani can’t whine about ‘fair play’ when his boss is denying electoral fairness to the American people: columnist

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President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani has been raging against the impeachment investigation that came about, in large part, due to his own behavior. On Tuesday, he wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal lamenting that the impeachment process is "unprecedented, constitutionally questionable, and an affront to American fair play."

As Danielle Allen wrote for the Washington Post on Wednesday, Giuliani wanting to talk about "fair play" is a rich proposition.

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Trump made a ‘huge mistake’ talking to reporters about impeachment: Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann

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One of former special counsel Robert Mueller's top prosecutors explained on MSNBC how President Donald Trump made a "huge mistake" on Wednesday.

Andrew Weissmann, who is now an MSNBC legal analyst, was interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press Daily."

The former federal prosecutor says Trump committed a blunder by denying a call with a Gordon Sondland staffer.

"Why is that?" Todd asked.

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Republicans want Americans to believe Trump cared deeply — about something he never mentioned

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One of the main points made by Republicans during the House hearings on the impeachment claimed that President Donald Trump cared so deeply about corruption in Ukraine that he was holding back the funding. It wasn't bribery because it was all about legitimate foreign policy, according to Trump and the Republicans in Congress.

Their greatest problem is that Trump has never held back speaking out about something he cared for. As the Washington Post noted, the argument doesn't stand up.

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