Man Sues Cook County Correctional Officer for Unreasonable Force

A man who was brutally beaten in Cook County Jail by a correctional officer has filed suit against the officer.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, named correctional officer Branden Norise, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart and Cook County and alleges Norise used "unreasonable force" when he beat the inmate. 

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 Norise.

“I went to the ground surrendering, but he kept on hitting me and kicking me,” Brown said. “It was uncalled for.”

The incident was captured on one of about 2400 surveillance cameras at the Cook County Jail.

“He just beat him and beat him and beat him when there was absolutely no reason to do so,” said Brown’s attorney Blake Horowitz.

Dart attempted to fire Norise, but both the Sheriff’s Merit Board and a Cook County Circuit Court ruled in Norise’s favor.

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

Brown claims he’s only recently shared his story because he was threatened by other officers at the jail.

“That’s why I didn’t come forward,” he said. “I was scared. I didn’t want to go back to the penitentiary.”

The Better Government Association 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. 

“If it would have been me attacking him, then charges would have been pressed against me,” Brown said.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said it reviewed the case but declined charges.

“Like any law enforcement agency, the Sheriff's Office could have elected to file a misdemeanor charge against the officer without any approval by this office but for whatever reason they elected not to do so,” the office said in a statement. “There was a video that was reviewed and the video showed that the detainee was the initial aggressor and that he punched the officer twice before the officer struck back. In addition, at the time and long before he filed the lawsuit today, the detainee stated that he did not wish to pursue criminal charges against the officer unless the officer were to pursue criminal charges against him.”

Contact Us