CHICAGO -- A former Cook County Jail inmate suing guards and investigators over his beating captured on tape in 2014 alleges the Sheriff's Department dragged out its investigation of the incident to try and prevent his lawsuit.
Caught on surveillance cameras from two angles, the attack on 29-year-old Litroy Bolton at Cook County Jail is indisputable.
Bolton was in custody on a marijuana charge when he says 44-year-old correctional officer Miguel Ortiz ordered him to enter a cell that had been under quarantine, even though another officer had said it was contaminated and he wasn't to go in.
“He said you're going to get in the cell or I'm going to put you in the cell anyway,” Bolton said during a press conference Monday.
“He was given two orders; he was put in an impossible situation,” said attorney Vince Field.
Bolton said when he requested a sergeant resolve the situation Ortiz attacked him. Surveillance video shows Ortiz throwing Bolton to the ground and punching him several times as other officers held him down.
“All of the sudden he just got to punching me all over my face, all over my head; I couldn't believe he was punching me like he was,” Bolton said.
He was bruised, suffered knots on his head and headaches for weeks after the encounter. The next day, he filed a grievance against Ortiz, and the marijuana charges Bolton was facing were later dropped.
But Bolton said no one got back to him until he had been home for more than a year. Ortiz was charged last week with official misconduct. According to the State's Attorney's office, prosecutors weren't aware of the situation until April 2015 and Bolton wouldn't cooperate.
“We know from FOIA-ing documents related to off Ortiz that from January of 2014 to February of 2015, when he was de-deputized, that he assaulted ten other inmates at Cook County Jail, including an inmate on suicide watch, and that was finally the last straw,” Field said.
Ortiz has been released on his own recognizance. Bolton's lawsuit also names the Cook County Sheriff, the Executive Director of the Cook County Jail and internal affairs investigators as defendants.
The suit says the office intentionally dragged out its investigation of the guard's actions, in an effort to exhaust the victim’s time under the statute of limitations to take legal action against the guards.
A representative with the Cook County Sherriff's Department said there are “gross inaccuracies” in Bolton and his lawyer's statements and there’s “no evidence” Ortiz was a serial abuser. They are still seeking to fire him.
A representative said there’s also “no evidence” there were inaccuracies in the incident's reporting and that the allegation it was ignored is false.