The Cook County Sheriff’s office released new videos Thursday claiming to show inmates assaulting correctional officers at the Cook County Jail.
Four videos were released in an effort to display the difficult job correctional officers face each day, said Sheriff Tom Dart.
“We felt, let’s just put this out in a rather straight forward way and show people the realities of what’s going on,” he said.
The latest video release comes months after the sheriff’s office posted numerous videos showing excessive force by officers at the jail, marking the first time an American jail or prison has voluntarily made use-of-force videos available to the public.
At the time, Dart called it the first step in his "long-term campaign to restore accountability" to Cook County jail after decades of violence and overcrowding.
On Thursday, however, Dart noted that attacks on staff outweigh any excessive force complaints against officers. He said the department had hoped to release the latest round of videos alongside the excessive force footage, but “ran into some logistical issued trying to get them out.”
“We wanted them all along, to get everything out there,” he said. “So everything would be in context.”
At least one of the videos, an inmate is seen getting into an argument with an officer, which ultimately leads to a fight.
The inmates in each of the videos now face assault charges.
“The officer is just doing their job, they are just walking a tier, they are standing there and then somebody comes up and punches them out of the blue,” he said.
Dennis Andrews with Teamsters Local 700, the union representing the officers at the jail, said the union applauds the sheriff for releasing the new videos, but says more needs to be done to protect correctional officers.
“He needs to personally get involved to see what he can do to better that place on the officers’ side,” Andrews said. “They need a leader, not a politician.”