COOK COUNTY, IL – Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart has released videos documenting incidents of Cook County Jail individuals in custody committing battery against correctional deputies.
The four videos correspond to investigations dating back from May 2016 to the present. The incidents all took place in maximum security Divisions 9 and 10, which house the most violent and disruptive individuals in custody in Cook County Jail’s custody. Several of the attacks resulted in deputies being hospitalized.
The release of these individual in custody battery videos comes on the heels of Sheriff Dart’s decision in April to proactively release videos documenting incidents of excessive force by Cook County Jail correctional deputies once those cases are resolved by the independent Merit Board. Consistent with that policy, Sheriff Dart has committed to releasing individual in custody battery videos on an ongoing basis as soon as the respective investigations are complete and charges of Aggravated Battery on a Peace Officer are approved by the State’s Attorney’s Office. As the deputies in these videos are victims of crimes, their faces have been blurred to protect their privacy.
“There simply is no more difficult job than that of a correctional deputy, and I have extraordinary admiration for my staff who put their necks on the line every day in order to maintain the safety of everyone in the jail,” said Sheriff Dart. “Unfortunately, some of our individuals in custody – particularly in our maximum security divisions – consistently subject correctional staff to violent assaults, verbal threats, indecent exposure, spit and even urine and feces. I will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our staff by holding these individuals in custody accountable for the criminal acts they commit in the jail.”
The Sheriff’s Office maintains an investigative unit – the Correctional Information & Investigations Division (CIID) – dedicated solely to crimes committed within the jail, with an emphasis on battery against officers. Since January 2015, the Sheriff’s Office investigations have yielded criminal charges against 163 individuals in custody for Aggravated Battery on a Peace Officer.
Deputies attacked by individuals in custody are presented with the option of seeking criminal charges. If they choose to move forward, the Sheriff’s Video Monitoring Unit (VMU) pulls footage of all camera angles documenting the incident for the benefit of Sheriff’s investigators. Sheriff Dart has invested over $10 million to install more than 2,400 fixed cameras throughout the 96 acre jail compound, in addition to hundreds of body cameras and handheld cameras. With all hallways, tiers and elevators enveloped with cameras from every angle, nearly all movements from both individuals in custody and staff are recorded and documented at all times. The camera presence has exponentially increased the ability of the Sheriff’s Office to hold individuals in custody accountable when they attack officers. Sheriff’s investigators strongly rely on this video footage to present cases to the State’s Attorney’s Office for approval for Battery on Peace Officer charges.