Cook County

Judge Who Placed Child in Holding Cell Reassigned to Administrative Duty

The Executive Committee of the Circuit Court made the determination during a Wednesday meeting

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Cook County Judge Jackie Portman-Brown has been reassigned to administrative duty until further notice after a Wednesday meeting by the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County reviewed security camera footage which showed the Judge placing a child in a holding lock up cell at the county courthouse.

The judge will also be reported to the Judicial Inquiry Board and will receive mentoring.

NBC5 Investigates obtained a copy of the security footage last week through a Freedom of Information request which showed the judge guiding a girl, who looked to be 6 to 8 years old,  into a holding cell.

The child’s face is blacked out in the video, but sources tell NBC 5 Investigates the child was clearly distressed.

Portman-Brown can be seen sitting the girl down on the bench and walking out of the cell.  A female sheriff’s deputy then shut the door and appeared to lock the cell. The girl was held in the lockup area for about 10 minutes before being allowed out.

Sources familiar with the incident told NBC5 Investigates that the child may have been placed in the holding cell to be “scared straight”—a disciplinary tactic used to get the child to behave in school.

The matter was discussed by the Executive Committee on Wednesday. The committee is chaired by Chief Judge Timothy Evans and 17 presiding judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The two Cook County Sheriff deputies seen in the footage have been de-deputized and assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation.

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