Bond Set for Cook County Jail Guards Charged in Inmate Beating
COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Two Cook County Jail guards each were ordered held on $50,000 bond Friday for allegedly arranging for an inmate to be beaten.
Department of Corrections officers Delphia A. Sawyer, 31, and Pamela R. Bruce, 29, were arrested Thursday and charged with felony counts of obstructing justice, mob action, official misconduct and perjury.
On Feb. 9, 2012, Sawyer and Bruce were on duty at the Cook County Jail when inmates removed a "electrical light switch plate" causing a short circuit that knocked out the power in some of the cells, according to court documents.
When Sawyer and Bruce found out what had happened they "became angry" and started "swearing at the inmates," the document said. The two allegedly got into a heated argument with one of the inmates who they believed was responsible for the power outage.
As they locked the 18-year-old man in his cell, the inmate cursed at Sawyer and Bruce, to which they responded the inmate "would see who the bitch was," according to court documents.
Sawyer and Bruce then allegedly summoned two of the larger inmates and instructed them to beat up the 18-year-old inmate. The two officers are accused of opening the inmate's cell to allow the beating.
"They said 'Go in there and f--- him up,'" Assistant State's Attorney Nickolas Trutenko said in bond court.
Trutenko argued that Bruce and Sawyer used violent inmates "no different than a gun or a knife."
Trutenko showed the judge a photograph of the inmate with a bruised and swollen face and two black eyes.
At the time of the alleged beating, the inmate was in jail on charges of aggravated battery and reckless driving. He pleaded guilty on March 13 and was sentenced to two years of probation just weeks after the alleged beating.
Sheriff's spokesman Frank Bilecki said the incident allegedly took place in Division X, a four-story maximum-security division of County Jail. Bilecki said the investigation "proceeded swiftly," and officials decided to prosecute Sawyer and Bruce in the last couple of weeks.
Bilecki said Sawyer and Bruce had both worked as corrections officers for six years. If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison, according to court documents.
Sawyer's defense attorney Peter Hickey said his client, a married mother of two, worked in a dangerous environment.
"These aren't the choir boys from St. Patrick's parish," Hickey said of the inmates.
Bruce's lawyer, Frank Edwards, said Bruce has had a spotless work record.
An internal investigation by the Office of Professional Review is pending, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
Cook County Judge Edward Harmening ordered each of the two officers held on $50,000 bond Friday. The sheriff's office declined to release mug shots of the officers citing the ongoing investigation and officer safety.
Additional reporting by Darryl Holliday