Cook County Criminal Courthouse

Judge Reassigned After Video Appears to Show Child Placed in Holding Cell at Courthouse

A hearing will be held March 4, according to the Chief Judge's Office of Cook County

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A Cook County judge has been reassigned pending an investigation into allegations that she put a young girl into lockup at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse last week.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, NBC 5 Investigates obtained startling video showing the moment the girl was escorted through an office at the courthouse and into a cell.

Now, Judge Jackie Portman-Brown has been reassigned to administrative duty, pending an investigation into the incident.

Videos from the courthouse show the girl with an adult female caregiver, apparently going into courtroom 205 at the criminal courthouse last week.

Judge Portman-Brown is assigned to the courthouse, and is also seen in the videos.

A separate clip shows the women in an office. The judge, still in her robe, is walking through the office with the little girl and her caregiver behind her.

A female sheriff’s deputy is also shown in the video as the little girl appears to struggle while walking around the desk.

Video shows the judge apparently guiding the girl into the cell, her little feet visible underneath the judge’s robe.

The girl remains seated in the cell, and then gets up. One of the sheriff’s deputies seen in the video near the cell just before the girl entered is then seen on video, appearing to console the upset child.

After the release of the videos, a spokesman for the chief judge’s office told NBC 5 Investigates that the judge has been reassigned pending a hearing of the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County on March 4.

That committee includes the Cook County Chief Judge and 17 presiding judges of the circuit court of Cook County.

In a statement, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office says it is also conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

“The office is conducting an internal investigation into the incident to determine whether all policies and procedures were followed by the deputies,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Both deputies have been de-deputized and assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.”

The chief judge’s office declined to provide additional details pending the outcome of the investigation.

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