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Jail guard pleads guilty of beating inmate

Cook County corrections officer Miguel Ortiz agreed to quit his job at the jail and will spend 18 months on probation for punching an inmate in 2014.

The Cook County Jail on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Corrections officer Miguel Ortiz this week pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for beating an inmate in 2014.
The Cook County Jail on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Corrections officer Miguel Ortiz this week pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for beating an inmate in 2014.
Sun-Times Media

A Cook County sheriff’s officer has pleaded guilty to charges for hitting a jail inmate in 2014 in a deal with prosecutors that requires him to quit and never seek another law enforcement job.

Miguel Ortiz was captured on surveillance video inside the jail, striking 29-year-old Litroy Bolton after Bolton complained when he heard Ortiz say he was going to move Bolton into a cell with a sick inmate.

Ortiz has been on unpaid suspension since 2016, after he was accused of spitting on another inmate, and was charged that year with two counts of official misconduct. On Wednesday, Ortiz pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of a misdemeanor count of battery and sentenced to 18 months probation. Ortiz must show proof of his resignation by Sept. 27.

Bolton had sued Ortiz and the sheriff’s office, claiming that Ortiz had a history of complaints for excessive use of force — including 10 claims made in the months between Bolton’s beating and Ortiz’s suspension — and that fellow officers had filed false reports to cover for Ortiz. The county settled the lawsuit in 2017, but details of the settlement agreement were not immediately available.

According to his lawsuit, Bolton – who had been jailed on a minor drug charge that was dismissed – told Ortiz he did not want to be moved into a cell with another inmate who was quarantined because of illness. Ortiz grabbed Bolton, causing Bolton to fall backward into a hallway.

Bolton immediately rolled onto his stomach and placed his hands behind his back. But the video shows Ortiz jumping on Bolton and unleashing a flurry of flailing punches even as Bolton remains with his hands clasped behind his back. Ortiz continued to slam Bolton into the ground as two other officers moved to handcuff Bolton, who suffered head injuries.