A federal class action lawsuit filed today alleges a culture of brutality that puts inmates at constant risk at the Cook County Jail.
Northwestern’s MacArthur School of Justice laid out a litany of complaints about abuse at the county jail.
“Officers slam people to the floor; stomp, kick and punch them, all while the individuals are handcuffed and shackled,” said David Shapiro of MacArthur Justice Center at a news conference today. “An expert in security and correctional management states that the Cook County jail is among the worst in the country with regard to violence.”
The lawsuit calls the jail, and its staff, an embarrassment, guilty of beating, harassing and intimidating inmates.
Cook County Sherriff Tom Dart says the MacArthur Justice Center’s lawsuit is a frivolous money-grab aimed at wracking-up billable hours.
“We are going to fight this so vigorously,” Dart said. “And we are not going to be able to stop until we know it’s been put to rest.”
Dart also calls the suit insulting and says its filed by violent criminals, some of whom are also professional litigants, he says, backed by overzealous lawyers.
The suit seeks money in only one case. More immediately, it calls for an injunction allowing outside oversight of how things run inside America’s largest lockup.