CHICAGO (CBS) — A former Cook County correctional officer caught on video repeatedly punching an inmate has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
Miguel Ortiz was charged with two felony counts of official misconduct in 2016. Instead, he pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of battery.
Ortiz resigned from the Cook County Sheriff’s office not long after the beating.
Avoiding a felony conviction means Ortiz might keep his pension.
On Jan. 17, 2014, Ortiz was caught on video as he beat Litroy Bolton in a cell in the medium-security wing of the Cook County Jail.
The video showed Bolton did nothing to antagonize Ortiz, who repeatedly punched the inmate in the head, according to the sheriff’s office, which had moved to fire him before his resignation in 2016.
Officers put Bolton in handcuffs after the beating. Sheriff’s officials said video contradicted Ortiz’s statement that Bolton took a fighting stance before he was punched.
Bolton told investigators he had refused to get into a cell, because it wasn’t cleaned properly after a sick inmate earlier was held in the cell.
“Maybe somebody was sick, it was contagious, but at that time, Officer Ramos did inform Ortiz not to put me in there,” Bolton told CBS 2 after Ortiz was charged in the case. “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.”
Bolton’s attorney had accused the sheriff’s Office of Professional Review, which investigated the incident, of dragging out the case for more than 2 ½ years before ruling Ortiz used excessive force.
Ortiz was found to have assaulted ten other inmates before he was de-deputized in 2015.