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CHICAGO (WGN) — Surveillance footage shows an inmate being beaten for nearly a minute at Cook County Jail last year. The correctional officer accused of the beating has been charged.
Richard Smith, 44, was charged with official misconduct and aggravated battery following the incident at Cook County Jail on Sept. 20, 2022.
In the video, a 24-year-old inmate is seen speaking with two guards for about 40 seconds in the jail’s residential treatment unit.
Video shows the confrontation turn violent with a correctional officer seeming to throw the first punch. After a few seconds of the man defending himself with some punches back, Smith allegedly started to knee him while throwing uppercuts as the other correctional officer, who has not been identified, held him.
The inmate then falls to the ground as Smith is shown continuing to beat the man.
Multiple correctional officers then move in to try to break up the incident. Authorities said the inmate was beaten “more than 30 times.”
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 arrested. A supervisor reviewing camera footage noticed the incident and reported it, authorities said prior to the video being released.
Smith was issued a $50,000 bond Tuesday.
“Excessive or unlawful force is not tolerated,” 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.”
Officials from 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.