‘The Public Has a Right to Know': 6 Videos Released Showing Excessive Force Used on Cook County Jail Inmates

The Cook County Sheriff has invested more than $10M to install more than 2,400 cameras throughout the 96-acre compound

Six videos released Friday show correctional officers in Cook County, Illinois, using what officials say is excessive force on inmates. 

"The public has a right to know when officers abuse the public trust as well as the ramifications of that abuse," Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said in a statement when the footage was released. 

The videos correspond to six different cases and involve 13 correctional deputies, all of whom have been disciplined, according to police. 

Seven deputies — at least one involved in each case — were terminated, the sheriff's office said. The other deputies involved were suspended without pay for periods of time ranging from 45 to 180 days.

"Transparency is critical to ensuring law enforcement accountability," Dart said. 

It's the first time an American jail or prison has voluntarily made use-of-force videos available to the public, according to the sheriff’s office.

Dart called it the first step in his "long-term campaign to restore accountability" to Cook County jail after decades of violence and overcrowding.

The local union called the videos' release "nothing but a political move."

"Posting these videos on pubic websites is not only a violation of privacy of our officers, but it’s infringing on their right to a fair trial. The 'transparency' of these videos – as Dart calls it – only goes one way," Teamsters Local 700 said in a statement. "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."

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