Correctional Officer to Return To Work After Beating Inmate on Camera

A correctional officer will soon resume his duties after he beat an inmate—and it was captured on camera.

Randall Brown was in Cook County Jail’s Division 8 on July 4, 2013, when he said a simple misunderstanding led to his beating at the hands of correctional officer Branden Norise.

“He said I was resisting, threw me on the ground, started kicking me, hitting me in my side and in my stomach,” said Randall Brown, telling NBC 5 he did nothing and the officer continued to hit him.

The incident was captured on one of about 2400 surveillance cameras at the Cook County Jail. It was obtained by the Better Government Association before Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart posted it on his website Wednesday.

“Even though the prisoner is on the ground and on his belly, no longer apparently resisting, the officer continues to punch and kick him in the head,” said Andrew Schroedter of the BGA, saying that the behavior should warrant the dismissal of Officer Norise.

But despite Dart’s efforts to terminate him, both the Sheriff’s Merit Board and a Cook County Circuit Court ruled in Officer Norise’s favor.

The BGA found that over the last seven years, there have been 99 substantiated cases of excessive use of force. Dart sought dismissal in 35 of those cases, but only four officers have been terminated, and two others resigned.

“Very few of these officers seem to be suffering serious repercussions because of this,” Schroedter said.

In Norise’s case, the Merit Board found that he “did not violate the Sheriff’s orders or the Cook County Merit Board rules.”

The union that represents jail officers has criticized the Sheriff’s release of videos like these, showing excessive use of force, saying that the “transparency of these videos, as Dart calls it, only goes one way.

"It’s not a true outlook of what happens at the jail on a daily basis, which are only small clips of the entire alleged incidents,” said the president of Teamsters Local 700.

But a spokesperson for the Sheriff told NBC 5 it’s important that people see the videos like Randall Brown’s beating, saying “It certainly shows how incredibly difficult it is to terminate a person who violates the public's trust in this way.”

“If he did it to me, he will do it to somebody else. How he treated me was unnecessary,” said Brown.

Both the Merit Board and a Cook County Circuit Court ruled in Officer Norise’s favor, but Dart’s office said they are appealing the decision.

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