Corrections Officer Charged with Felony After Striking Inmate

Prosecutors say Ofc. Rico Palomino also submitted false incident reports

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Officer Rico Palomino has been charged with "official misconduct" after injuring an inmate in the Cook County Jail. (Published Thursday, Aug 2, 2012)

    A Cook County corrections officer has been charged with "official misconduct" after striking a detainee during intake and then telling him to claim he had struck the officer first.

    Rico Palomino, 40, was charged with the Class 3 felony in connection with the June 16 incident in the Inmate Receiving Area in Division 5 of the Cook County Jail, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said.

    Palomino, a correctional officer for 12 years, turned himself in Thursday and was ordered held on a $10,000 bond by Judge Adam Bourgeois.

    Prosecutors said Palomino was working at a desk when an inmate walked by, asking Palomino where officers kept inventoried property because he wanted to get a phone number.

    As the inmate continued to walk down a hallway, Palomino followed and told him to return to the lockup area.

    "If you don't get back over here, I'm going to f--- you up," prosecutors alleged in a proffer.

    A surveillance camera from the hallway recorded Palomino, eight inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than the inmate, striking the detainee, causing him to fall to the floor.

    Prosecutors said the inmate was left bleeding from the mouth and required stitches.

    Palomino submitted false reports on the incident which provided conflicting details, prosecutors allege.

    An initial incident report filed by Palomino stated the inmate "turned around abruptly" and grabbed toward Palomino's shirt, at which point Palomino struck the inmate with an open palm to "create a safe distance between himself and the detainee," the proffer stated.

    In a later inmate disciplinary report, Palomino said the inmate grabbed Palomino's shirt, according to the proffer.

    "We all have the right to defend ourselves," said Pete Hickey, who is listed as Palomino's attorney. Palomino was defending himself from the inmate, Hickey said.

    Palomino’s preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 23. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.