Veteran Cook County Correctional Jail Officer Faces Charges for Beating Jail Inmate
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the indictment of a Cook County Correctional Officer in response to the officer beating a Cook County Jail inmate, which was backed with video surveillance as evidence of the misconduct. The officer was caught on the act in a video, repeatedly striking a detainee who was being transported at the Cook County Jail in a medium-security wing by several officers.
Miguel Ortiz, 44, was charged on July 28, 2016, with two counts of Official Misconduct (Class 3 Felony) for beating a Cook County Jail inmate, which was revealed as a result of an investigation made by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – Professional Standards Unit, and of the Sheriff’s Office of Professional Review. Officer Ortiz has been a full-time employee of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office since November 20, 1995, and is currently on his 21st year of serving as a Correctional Officer in the Cook County Jail.
On the evening of January 17, 2014, a male inmate, Litroy Bolton, was being transferred from Division 6 to Division 8 of the Cook County Jail. The detainee was reported to have engaged in an altercation with the officers in charge of transporting him. Bolton testified to investigators that he refused to be moved into another facility for he has specific concerns regarding the condition of the cell he was being transferred to. He noted that a sick inmate was previously held in the cell and that the cell has not yet been cleaned prior to his transfer. Bolton said he refuses to go into the cell that “had quarantine.”
The detainee, Bolton, later on, said in refute, “maybe somebody was sick, it was contagious, but at that time, Officer Ramos did inform Ortiz not to put me in there. I just felt helpless, defenseless, like I couldn’t do nothing, was nothing going to happen about this, ain’t nothing going to never ever happen, and they just going to beat me up, and they’re going to get away with it.”
Officer Ortiz overheard the argument between the detainee and the officers as he was working in a control room across the hall from where the altercation was occurring, and subsequently approached the detainee, reached for his arm, and escorted him into the cell; however, the detainee pulled away, which caused him to fall onto the ground.
Investigations of the video surveillance revealed that Officer Ortiz knelt down to the fallen detainee and punched him about seven times, directly in his head. The other officers with the detainee then proceeded to handcuff Bolton after the beating. Bolton suffered injuries and was taken to Cermak Hospital to be treated for blunt trauma to the head. The recording was captured on two of the Cook County Jail’s video surveillance cameras.
Officer Ortiz claimed that the detainee had gone into a fighting stance during the incident, which compelled him to strike the detainee; however, the Sheriff’s officials said that the video recording revealed a contradiction between Officer Ortiz’s statement and the verified occurrence. The videotaped incident manifests that Bolton did nothing to provoke, said the officer. Officer Ortiz was proceeded to be de-deputized by the Sheriff’s Office prior to his resignation in 2016. Still, reports said that Officer Ortiz was found to have assaulted ten other inmates before being fired in 2015.
Illinois Cook Judicial Circuit Court Judge James R. Brown gave Officer Ortiz a $10,000 I-bond during a bond court at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago. Officer Ortiz is scheduled for another hearing in the case on August 18, 2016.
With the provided criminal documents containing allegations that are not evidence of guilt, the public is reminded that the defendant shall be presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Updated: August 25, 2020