Chicago police accused of sexually assaulting young asylum seekers

Chicago police officers are renowned for committing brutal atrocities against poor and disenfranchised people, including beatings and torture. The Chicago Police Department would like to pretend its sadistic reputation is all in the past, but a recent report from The Guardian suggests otherwise. It says the police are being investigated for sexually assaulting vulnerable young asylum seekers:

The Chicago police department is under investigation for allegations of sexual misconduct with recently arrived asylum seekers who are living in several police precincts across the city.

One case features an officer who allegedly impregnated an 18-year-old.

The investigation follows a report that a police officer had "sexual contact with an unidentified underage female migrant, and indicated [that] several other unidentified officers … may also have engaged in similar misconduct", Andrea Kersten, chief administrator of civilian office of police accountability (Copa), the city agency that investigates police misconduct, said at a summer press conference.

However, according to The Chicago Tribune, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) says it can't find any witnesses to the alleged assaults. Kiisha Smith, the chair of the Ogden District Council, suggests isn't looking hard enough:

After more than two months, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability has not located any witnesses in its investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct involving at least one Chicago police officer and a migrant housed at the Ogden District station on the West Side.

Kiisha Smith, the chair of the Ogden District Council, said during the police council's monthly meeting on Tuesday that a COPA representative gave her the update last Friday.

"Really, nothing's changed," Smith told the 30 or so meeting attendees. "They (COPA) stated that they still haven't found the complaining asylum-seekers, so they still don't have names, they say they don't know where they are. I offered to advise them of where the locations were … like if they didn't know we would provide the information for them to use in the investigation. They claim they knew, but nobody was speaking up."

In a WGN News segment, Baltazar Enriquezl of the Little Village Community Council said, "Most of these migrants feel that if they speak out, they're going to get kicked out of the system," and that grassroots organizations should be allowed to participate in the investigation, since the victims would be more willing to talk to them.