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Excerpt: "New documents reveal that a police officer punched his wife multiple times in Homan Square, the Chicago police facility described by The Guardian as 'an off-the-books interrogation compound.'"

A protestor stands outside Homan Square, demanding an investigation into the site. (photo: Jim Young/Reuters)
A protestor stands outside Homan Square, demanding an investigation into the site. (photo: Jim Young/Reuters)

Chicago Cop Beat Wife in Homan Square 'Black Site,' Document Shows

By Ken Klippenstein and Paul Gottinger, Reader Supported News

28 April 15


ocuments obtained by Reader Supported News via the Illinois Freedom of Information Act reveal that a police officer punched his wife multiple times in Homan Square, the Chicago police facility described by The Guardian as “an off-the-books interrogation compound” that denied detainees access to legal counsel. Lawyers have described Homan Square as a domestic “black site.”

The Chicago Police Department insists that it “abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square.” They contend that Homan Square is secretive “because many officers who operate there are often involved in undercover assignments.”

A February exposé by The Guardian depicted Homan Square quite differently, stating:

“Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.”

According to the documents obtained by RSN, which were authored by the Chicago city government’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), officer Maurice Anderson “punched [his wife] on the chest, neck, back and struck her on the face.” Anderson’s wife, Sharita Lewis-Anderson, was then transferred to Mt. Sinai hospital in an ambulance.

Doug Johnson Hatlem, a filmmaker who has documented years of Toronto Police violence and is now a Chicago resident, told RSN: “It just goes to show that Homan Square is a completely lawless outpost. Imagine what they are doing to captives they have never vowed to cherish and love forever.”

The altercation traced back to Anderson’s theft of his wife’s service weapon. (Lewis-Anderson was also a police officer.) According to testimony provided by Lewis-Anderson’s son, after the theft, Anderson told his wife, “Try going to work without your gun.”

Maurice Anderson had been working out in Homan Square’s gym when Lewis-Anderson arrived to retrieve her service weapon, after which Anderson struck her.

Anderson was later arrested for theft of his wife’s service weapon, money, car keys, and for “contributing to the neglect of a child” whom he left unattended at the time that he punched his wife. All of these allegations were sustained in the IPRA’s inquiry.

Although the document does not specify what disciplinary measures Anderson received from the department, a previous incident in which Anderson struck his wife resulted in just 30 days of unpaid suspension.

Despite his actions, Maurice Anderson remains a police officer at the Chicago Police Department, from which he draws an $80,000 annual salary.

According to a report by The New York Times about the lack of accountability for police violence against spouses, “In many departments, an officer will automatically be fired for a positive marijuana test, but can stay on the job after abusing or battering a spouse.”

Victims of police domestic violence can be reluctant to come forward. As Diane Wetendorf, Chicago resident and author of “Police Domestic Violence,” states, “The biggest problem for a woman reporting that she’s been abused by her police officer husband or boyfriend is that nobody believes you.”

“The women get terrified, too, so the crime is very under-reported. There is a legitimate fear of retaliation.”

The release of the document on which this story is based comes amidst ongoing protests in the United States calling for police accountability. On Tuesday, riots and protests swept across Baltimore in response to Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody. Baltimore police have themselves admitted that Freddie Gray did not receive timely medical care while in their custody.

The body of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov lies near St Basil’s cathedral. (photo: Dmitry Sereryakov/AFP/Getty Images)
FOIA document. (photo: Reader Supported News)

Ken Klippenstein is a staff journalist at Reader Supported News. He can be reached on Twitter @kenklippenstein or via email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Paul Gottinger is a staff reporter at RSN whose work focuses on the Middle East and the arms industry. He can be reached on Twitter @paulgottinger or via email.

Acknowledgement: This article could not have happened without the invaluable counsel of attorney Matthew Topic, who specializes in governmental transparency/freedom of information matters for the Loevy & Loevy civil rights law firm. your social media marketing partner
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