CHICAGO — A Cook County correctional officer has been charged after he allegedly beat an inmate “more than 30 times” last year.

Richard Smith, 44, is charged with official misconduct and aggravated battery following an incident at Cook County Jail on Sept. 20, 2022.

Smith allegedly struck a 24-year-old inmate inside the jail’s residential treatment unit “more than 30 times.”

Smith, who has been employed by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office since 2010, was removed from working with individuals in custody following the incident as the investigation unfolded, authorities said.

The condition of the 24-year-old was not given, but a press release states he was “treated for his injuries.”

Sheriff Tom Dart’s office said cameras were the reason Smith was caught. A supervisor reviewing camera footage noticed the incident and reported it, authorities said.

Smith was issued a $50,000 bond Tuesday.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office said they are seeking to suspend Smith without pay and will recommend his termination to the Sheriff’s Merit Board.

“Excessive or unlawful force is not tolerated,” Sheriff Dart said. “We have instituted a nationally
recognized system to help prevent such abuse and prosecute it when it happens. Those who engage in this abuse completely disregarded their training, and they disparage the hardworking men and women who keep the jail safe and secure.”

The public sector union representing the Cook County Department of Corrections issued the following statement:

Every day, the Teamsters Local 700 members of the Cook County Department of Corrections perform their duties in some of the most difficult situations imaginable with the utmost professionalism. These brave women and men regularly interact with individuals who are dangerous, threatening, or experiencing mental health or substance abuse challenges, and they do so in an environment that is severely understaffed and under-resourced. While we do not comment publicly on specific individuals under investigation, we stand behind our membership. We urge the Cook County Sheriff’s office to partner with us to address the longstanding challenges that our members consistently face within the jail to promote a safe environment for everyone.”

Statement from Teamsters Local 700 President Ramon Williams