Ex-Cook County sheriff’s deputy gets 1 year in prison for unprovoked attack on prisoner

SHARE Ex-Cook County sheriff’s deputy gets 1 year in prison for unprovoked attack on prisoner

Ex-Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy Rafael Munoz

A former Cook County sheriff’s deputy buried his head in his arms Wednesday as a federal judge sentenced him to a year behind bars for an attack on a shackled prisoner.

Rafael Munoz, 39, pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor civil rights charge. He confessed to deliberately knocking over the prisoner in July 2010, breaking his nose and tooth. And he admitted at the time the attack at the Maywood courthouse was unprovoked.

On Wednesday, Munoz said he felt “horrible” for what happened.

“I apologize for my actions and the people that I hurt,” Munoz said. “I’m really remorseful for everything that happened.”

A federal prosecutor played a video of the attack in U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez’s courtroom Wednesday. In the video, the detainee could first be seen kicking the door to his cell. Eventually, the door opened, Munoz entered with other guards, and then Munoz could be seen tossing the prisoner to the ground.

“You can see the blood pooling out of the victim’s face,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrianna Kastanek said as the video played.

Munoz showed no reaction to the video. But later, when the judge told him he’d spend a year in federal prison, Munoz soon took a seat. He placed his arms on a wooden railing and buried his head in them as the judge finished reading him the sentence.

Defense attorney Paul Flynn earlier tried to persuade the judge to let Munoz serve his sentence at home — and without electronic monitoring. Munoz quit his job in 2013, and Flynn said Munoz will never again seek a career in law enforcement. He also said Munoz would be “incredibly vulnerable” in a federal prison, because he once worked in law enforcement.

Even though his client had earlier admitted the attack was unprovoked, Flynn said the victim had been disruptive before it happened, banging his head against a wall and antagonizing the guards.

The judge agreed there was probably some provocation. But that didn’t make things better.

“You get paid not to respond to that provocation,” Valdez said.

Despite Munoz’s despair at his sentence, the judge said he was “lucky” to walk away from the incident with only a misdemeanor conviction. Munoz filed false reports after the attack, claiming the prisoner was injured when he “fell” or “rolled over” in his cell.

That just made things worse, the judge said.

“It’s not just the act, but the cover-up that gets you into trouble,” Valdez said.

The Latest
According to coach Billy Donovan, Ball was still dealing with pain in his surgically-repaired knee. There have been no setbacks, and the organization hasn’t set a date where they would simply shut him down for the year, but the concern continues.
President Biden hosts his first state dinner on Thursday, for President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte. The Sun-Times has the delicious details.
The Packers quarterback expects to hear it from Bears fans again Sunday at Soldier Field. “I’ve been hearing it from fans for 15 years down there. So I don’t expect anything to be different,” Rodgers said. “I have a lot of respect for the city of Chicago and the sports fans.”
Isaac Lambert testified that he was “dumped” by CPD brass for refusing to alter reports in a fellow officer’s off-duty shooting of a disabled teen.
The new historic marker stands outside the Old State Capitol, where then Sen. Barack Obama launched his presidential bid on a brutally cold February day in 2007 —but unlike Obama, Pritzker and the others who unveiled the marker on Wednesday made their remarks indoors.