Suit: NATO protester beat by correctional officers in Cook County Jail

SHARE Suit: NATO protester beat by correctional officers in Cook County Jail

Mark Neiweem | photo from the Illinois Department of Corrections

A Chicago man who was sentenced to three years in prison last year for trying to buy a pipe bomb during the 2012 NATO protests is alleging correctional officers at the Cook County Jail kicked and beat him while he was in custody awaiting trial.

Mark Neiweem, 30, filed the excessive force lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court.

He was arrested May 17, 2012 – three days before the NATO Summit in Chicago – and charged with solicitation for possession of explosives or incendiary devices, according to previous Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Neiweem, who was on probation at the time for punching a police officer in the face, had been looking to buy pipe-bomb materials, including PVC pipe, caps, glue and model rocket engines, authorities said.

While in custody at the Cook County Jail on Aug. 18, 2012, Neiweem was planning an inmate hunger strike for cruel punishment by the guards, according to Friday’s lawsuit.

He was subsequently tackled by one officer, dragged by a second officer, punched and kneed by a third officer and then thrown against a wall, the suit claims.

After he was thrown, all three officers started beating Neiweeem, the suit alleges. Then, another four officers joined in the beating and Neiweem was injured, according to the suit.

He claims in the suit that he did not resist the officers and did nothing to provoke the beating.

Eight correctional officers are listed as defendants in the suit.

“While we are reviewing the complaint, we will vigorously defend against its allegations,” said Cook County Sheriff’s office spokesman Benjamin Breit.

Neiweem was ultimately sentenced in April 2013 to three years in prison, but he was given credit for 329 days served in jail and was paroled in December, court and Department of Corrections records show.

The three-count lawsuit claims excessive force, failure to intervene and seeks to hold the county responsible. Neiweem is seeking an unspecified amount in damages and attorneys’ fees.

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