COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Cook County Jail correctional officer was charged Thursday with official misconduct after prosecutors said he beat an inmate in 2014.
The handcuffed inmate was protesting being moved to a cell previously used by a sick person when Miguel Ortiz, 44, hit the man in his head seven times at 10 p.m. Jan. 17, 2014, Assistant State's Attorney Ahmed Kosoko said during a bond hearing Thursday.
Watch security footage from the Cook County Sheriff's Office:
"Why has there been a two-and-a-half year delay in charging this case," Cook County Judge James Brown asked from the bench Thursday.
Kosoko informed the judge that prosecutors have only known about the case for a year, and that they've filed charges as part of an ongoing effort "to identify and prosecute law-enforcement misconduct."
Kosoko then played for the judge a short security video depicting the 2014 attack.
"I believe, based on what I've seen here, that an argument can be made that the complainant resisted the deputies involved," Judge Brown said before ordering Ortiz released on his own recognizance pending trial. Brown said Ortiz is neither a flight risk nor "a danger to society."
According to prosecutors, the inmate in question was being transferred from Division 6 to Division 8 on Jan. 17, 2014, when he overheard two sheriff's deputies discussing the condition of his new cell, which recently had been used to quarantine a sick detainee.
The inmate dropped his blankets to the floor and said he refused to go to a cell that "had quarantine," Kosoko said.
One of the deputies told the inmate to relax because they were working on the issue, according to authorities.
That's when Ortiz, who overheard the conversation, stepped in, prosecutors said. He asked the inmate whether he was refusing to go to his cell; the inmate said "yes" and asked for a supervisor, according to Kosoko.
Ortiz then grabbed the inmate's arm, prosecutors said, but the inmate pulled away and fell to the ground. One of the sheriff's deputies handcuffed the inmate, and Ortiz knelt down and punched the inmate seven times in his face and head, authorities said.
The altercation was captured on two separate surveillance cameras. The inmate was brought to the jail's Cermack Hospital, where he was treated for "blunt trauma to the head," Kosoko said.
According to prosecutors, Ortiz has been with the Cook County Sheriff's Office since November 1995. He has no criminal record and no prior disciplinary issues.
Ortiz is married with two teenage daughters, Assistant Public Defender Caitlin Patterson said in court Thursday. Ortiz is a Roosevelt High School graduate who has served in the military, Patterson said.
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