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20 May, 2015 19:10

‘Hundreds could have been abused at Chicago police black site’ - lawyer

The lawyer for the man who claims he was sexually abused at Chicago police's “black site” at Homan Square says the case could be just the tip of the iceberg and expects “several hundred people” to come forward with new allegations of abuse suffered.

Civil rights lawyer Scott Kamin spoke to RT and praised his client, Angel Perez, for having the courage to come forward and speak out about his experience. Perez claims police officers sexually assaulted him with a metal object in order to make him agree to participate in a drug sting.

“Right now we are putting together the class or in other words, we are finding out everyone who this has happened to. People do not want to talk about this,” Kamin said. “It was very brave of Angel to say ‘Hey this is what happened to me at Homan Square.’ Most people are not brave enough to do that,” he added.

The lawyer said he expects “several hundred people come forward before this comes to trial.”

However, his colleague Jason Epstein, a criminal defense lawyer, who is also dealing with Perez’s case, says securing a conviction against the police, if the allegations are proved to be true, will not be easy, due to the power of the police unions.

READ MORE: Chicago police sexually abused prisoner at 'black site' – report

“This is going to be up to the jury. It is a matter of the credibility of the witnesses and the evidence that you have. The city has been denying this from the start and has been changing its spin to what exactly this location is contributes to that. We have video that these people were there and this facility was used more than these people have admitted to,” Epstein said.

Perez, 33, claims several Chicago Police Department officers seized him before taking him to a bench, where they told him to bend over.

“The worst part was where he describes that the officer was rubbing something metallic on his back and ultimately penetrates him with it in a violent manner. He then goes into a panic attack and starts to hyperventilate. He was breathing very heavily and was crying. Their concern was he did not appear to have been assaulted. They put a rag in his mouth and told him to be quiet and told him to stop crying and calm down,” Epstein mentioned, recalling what his client had told him.

READ MORE: Activists rally in Chicago to close ‘black site,’ end ‘disappearing’ of civilians

Security footage from inside the facility showed Perez being led by two officers through a blue door marked “prisoner entrance” at 3:49 pm, and then out at 4:52 pm, on October 21, 2012.

Perez says the officer was trying to force him to take part in a drug sting and use $170 of police money to buy heroin from a drug dealer he knew, named Dwayne. The day before, police had pulled him over during a delivery run and found a “small amount of marijuana and half a Vicodin” in his car.

He filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department in 2013. Larry Merritt, a spokesman for Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), told The Guardian that Perez’s claims had been investigated, but were deemed to be “unfounded.”

In March, protesters in Chicago held a rally to demand the police shut down the notorious “black site” facility at Homan Square, which is situated in a formerly abandoned warehouse.

The detention facility in Chicago’s west side was first revealed in a report by the Guardian in February. The paper claimed it has “long been the scene of secretive work by special police units.”