Sheriff Calls for Firing of Employees Deemed Responsible for Preventing Inmate Assault
There have been developments in a story we shared with you on the blog several months back. A tragic assault that occurred in a holding cell at the Markham Courthouse has resulted in a call for a group of sheriff’s office employees to be fired from their posts.
Multiple assaults against female inmate
The pair of assaults occurred on May 2, 2017. Two male inmates who were at Markham Courthouse for a hearing each requested to be allowed into a female inmate’s holding cell in order to use the toilet in her cell (the men’s cell had no toilet). Despite the strict rules mandating that male and female inmates never share a jail cell, the guards allowed the men into the woman’s cell one at a time, where the men then sexually assaulted her. The men later claimed that the woman had threatened them with a syringe and demanded sex. No syringe was found in the cell. The cell did not contain a security camera.
Investigation results in call for termination of staffers
After the assault, many troubling questions arose about how it could’ve occurred: why were the men allowed into the cell at all, and why weren’t there sheriff’s deputies standing nearby who could intervene and stop the assault? The sheriff’s office asked the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to investigate the incident, while also conducting its own investigation. The five employees who were on duty in the courtroom at the time of the assault were immediately transferred to alternative positions while the investigation was ongoing. After receiving the report produced as the result of the investigation, Sheriff Tom Dart called for the firing of nine different employees at the sheriff’s office.
The victim of these assaults will be directly compensated as a result of the harm she suffered. According to the sheriff’s office, the woman appears poised to collect a $3.25 million settlement as a result of the attack, and the sheriff’s office has implemented reforms that should “ensure the protection of all detainees.”
Prisoners have constitutional right to protection
Cook County has a checkered history in regards to providing basic human rights to inmates. No matter what the charges are, and whether they have only been alleged against an inmate or proven at trial, every prisoner in the state of Illinois has a right to remain safe and healthy while in jail. When jail or prison guards or staffers fail to ensure that inmates receive the medical care, protection from physical and sexual assault, or protection from suicide that they need, those inmates and their families may have a claim for damages based on their injuries.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in the Markham Courthouse or Bridgeview Courthouse, or has been the victim of an assault while an inmate in the Cook County jail system, get help protecting your rights by contacting the aggressive and dedicated Chicagoland criminal defense and personal injury lawyer John Fairman for a consultation, in Homewood at 708-799-4848, and in Bridgeview at 708-960-4806.