Lawsuit alleges `sadistic violence` at Cook County Jail - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Lawsuit alleges `sadistic violence` at Cook County Jail

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(FOX 32's Craig Wall via @craigrwall) (FOX 32's Craig Wall via @craigrwall)
Lawsuit against Cook Co Jail alleges a JonBurge-a-Palooza environment leading to brutality against inmates. (FOX 32's Craig Wall via @craigrwall) Lawsuit against Cook Co Jail alleges a JonBurge-a-Palooza environment leading to brutality against inmates. (FOX 32's Craig Wall via @craigrwall)
(FOX 32's Craig Wall via @craigrwall) (FOX 32's Craig Wall via @craigrwall)
Tylon Hudson is the lead plaintiff in the case. (FOX 32's Craig Wall) Tylon Hudson is the lead plaintiff in the case. (FOX 32's Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A shocking lawsuit has surfaced against the Cook County Jail, claiming brutality and what prisoners' lawyers call a "Jon-Burge-a-palooza environment," after the infamous Chicago police commander.

Lawyers from Northwestern's Bluhm Legal Clinic say they spent 1,000 hours at the jail in the last year and interviewed more than 100 inmates.

"What we know about the jail, what is not open to reasonable dispute, is that the jail is completely, completely unsafe," David Shapiro said. "If you think the Cook County Jail is safe, you might as well think the earth is flat."

What they say they found is a culture of violence, where inmates claimed they were regularly beaten by guards and threatened with "elevator rides" - where there were no cameras to document abuse.

"Imagine visiting your son, your father, your brother in the Cook County Jail and seeing him bloodied and bruised at the hands of corrections officers," MacArthur Justice Center Sheila Bedi said.

The allegations in the federal class-action lawsuit incensed Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

"This thing is so outrageous on so many levels," Dart said.

The Cook County Sheriff said violence was way down from 2007-2013. Dart challenged the motivation of the lawsuit and noted how none of the allegations were ever brought to the attention of the various monitoring agencies.

As for the lead inmate plaintiff, accused murderer Tylon Hudson, Dart said he has sued the jail ten times; eight were thrown out, and two of the last three by his own attorney.

Dart called the lawsuit a fictional novel.

"To have people put out allegations like this, with no basis," Dart said, "that are calling in question not just our integrity, but the federal judiciary, the Department of Justice, it's outrageous."

Lawyers for the inmates said only the lead plaintiff stands to gain anything financially. The others have no such motivation at all.

Sheriff Dart said he plans to vigorously fight the lawsuit.

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