Chicago Police ‘Black Site’ Exposed

Homan Square

For roughly 40 years, the Chicago Police have run a ‘black site‘. The off-the-books Homan Square facility has been a place of torture and where prisoners were “disappeared.”

From the Guardian:

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

Read more at the Guardian

Photo: Screenshot/Guardian

Officer That Assaulted Arizona Black Professor Has Resigned

From Colorlines:


Stewart Ferrin, a 25-year-old Arizona State University police officer, resigned Monday after a lengthy controversy following his violent arrest of ASU professor Ersula Ore last May, the Arizona Republic reported. And he did so in dramatic fashion.

In a letter he wrote to ASU police chief Mike Thompson, Stewart wrote that the 7 1/2 months he spent on paid administrative leave from his job, “caused great financial stress and emotional anguish,” by preventing “lateral opportunities” with other prospective employers, and possibilities for more training and promotions within the agency he currently served. 

Last May, Ferrin stopped Ore, who’s a professor in the university’s English department, for jaywalking. Video eventually showed that Ferrin and other officers strongarmed Ore, and eventually threw her to the ground.

What started as a volatile incident between the professor and the police officer soon became a lengthy legal and political drama. While ASU initially backed Ferrin, and said he hadn’t violated any policies that evening, Ore meanwhile was charged with resisting arrest and other crimes. She pleaded guilty to charges of resisting arrest, and is currently serving a nine-month probation sentence, the Phoenix New Times reported. Investigators with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office also all subsequenty concluded that Ferrin was guilty of no wrongdoing, the Phoenix New Times reported. 

Read more at Colorlines

Photo: GoFundMe

St. Louis Police Allegedly Beat Man After Turning Off Dash Cam

stlouis police

From The Root:

18-year-old Cortez Bufford was on the ground, surrounded by St. Louis cops last April following a traffic stop when officer Kelli Swinton, reportedly told her fellow officers: “Hold up. Hold up, y’all. Hold up. Hold up, everybody, hold up. We’re red right now, so if you guys are worried about cameras, just wait.”

Swinton allegedly turned off the dash cam. Four of those St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officers are now facing a lawsuit filed by Bufford who claims that the cops used excessive force including kicking and Tasering the teen, according to the Daily Mail.

Joel Schwartz, Bufford’s attorney, claims that the teen was left with abrasions on his face and back and several hospital bills.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that officer Swinton may face disciplinary actions for reportedly turning off the dash cam. 

The dash cam video footage from the incident was not released after the April 10 incident as the city was still reeling from the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Mo. police officer, the Daily Mail reports.

Read the entire story at The Root 

Photo: Screenshot

Breaking: Officer Indicted in Shooting Death of Akai Gurley


From NY1:

Law enforcement sources tell NY1’s Dean Meminger that rookie officer Peter Liang has been indicted in the shooting death of Akai Gurley.

Gurley was shot to death in a dark stairwell at the Pink Houses in East New York on November 20.

Investigators say rookie officer Peter Liang was holding his gun in the same hand he was using to open a door when the gun went off, hitting Gurley, who was unarmed.

The NYPD calls the shooting an accident.


After Death of Aura Rosser, Michigan Police To Undergo Diversity Training

aura rosser

In response to the announcement that the police officer that shot and killed 40 year-old Aura Rosser would not face charges, Ann Arbor, Michigan Police Chief Seto released a statement on impending changes to officer training. Officers will undergo diversity training, including information on engaging with citizens with autism disorders. His full statement is below:

Now that the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office has concluded that there will be no criminal charges filed in the shooting death of Ms. Rosser, I am able to make some additional comments regarding this unfortunate incident.

I would like to begin by expressing my condolences once again to the family and friends of Ms. Rosser. Although the officer’s response was justified, it had a tragic outcome nonetheless. This has been a very difficult time for our community and the entire Ann Arbor Police Department, specifically Officers Ried and Raab, who responded to this incident.

I have previously stated that Officer Ried has been an excellent officer who has earned my confidence by routinely demonstrating sound judgment and professionalism. His actions during this incident are consistent with my prior assessment.

The community expects its officers to resolve a wide range of conflicts. When doing so, they have a duty to protect citizens who are in danger and they have a right to protect themselves. Both were required of Officers Ried and Raab on Nov. 9.

In the weeks following the incident, I have witnessed a great deal of patience and restraint shown through many peaceful demonstrations that have occurred. I am grateful to be the police chief in a community where its citizens can express their opinions in a peaceful and respectful manner.

While we all waited for the completion of the Michigan State Police investigation and subsequent decision by the prosecutor’s office, I have continued to move forward with several initiatives. With council’s authorization for the appropriation of funds, the Ann Arbor Police Department has placed an order for 86 body-worn cameras. While we await delivery, we have continued the process of developing the policy and training associated with the deployment of this technology.

I have also been reviewing our current training topics to identify any additional needs. For the 2015 training calendar, I have added modules to include diversity awareness conducted by the Anti-Defamation League of Michigan, as well as autism awareness. These are in line with previous training programs which have exposed officers to other specific population groups.

Some examples include response to incidents involving citizens with alzheimer’s or dementia, as well as those who are deaf or hearing impaired. Annually, all officers are also trained in both less lethal and lethal force tactics and techniques. I will continue to explore and evaluate any other relevant training opportunities for our officers.

Prior to this incident, I met regularly with the chairperson of the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission. As the commission began to hear more questions from the community, these meetings have increased in frequency and have included additional commission members as well as new topics of discussion. I will continue to work with the commission members to answer any questions they identify.

I plan to continue with all of these efforts and initiatives going forward.

h/t Clutch

Photo: Aura Rosser/Facebook

Tanisha Anderson’s Death Ruled a Homicide

Tanisha Anderson

Tanisha Anderson (Photo courtesy of the Anderson family)

The death of Tanisha Anderson, the 37-year-old woman killed by Cleveland police, has been ruled a homicide.

The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that the official report from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office, states that “sudden death associated with physical restraint in a prone position.” A representative from the office noted that Anderson’s heart disease and bipolar disorder were factors that increased her chances of sudden death.

Anderson’s family called the police twice on November 13th, to report that she was disturbing the peace. Anderson was experiencing an episode and agreed to be taken to hospital for a mental health evaluation.

#Black Brunch: Disrupting White Spaces

Black Brunch NYC (Photo courtesy of Black Brunch NYC)

Black Brunch NYC (Photo courtesy of Black Brunch NYC)

From Oakland to New York, young protesters are taking it to brunch.

Over the weekend, protesters entered popular eateries in New York and Oakland and called out the names of those killed by police violence.

According to the Washington Post, more than thirty participants filled the restaurants. The disruptions lasted for four-and-a-half minutes to represent the four-and-a-half hours that Michael Brown was left in the street after being killed by former Ferguson, Missouri officer, Darren Wilson.