Illinois sheriff releases videos showing force against inmates

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[April 18, 2016]    By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The sheriff who runs the jail system in Chicago on Friday released videos showing cases of excessive force against inmates.

"The public has a right to know when officers abuse the public trust as well as the ramifications of that abuse," Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said in a statement. "Transparency is critical to ensuring law enforcement accountability."

The video release comes as the third-biggest U.S. city's police department faces a federal investigation and racism accusations over the death of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired his police commissioner in 2015 after protests following the release of a video showing a Chicago police officer shooting McDonald 16 times.

The McDonald video was released more than a year after the October 2014 shooting, sparking a round of protests late last year.

The Cook County jail videos document six cases on which the Sheriff's Merit Board made rulings. The board is a civilian body that makes the final judgment whenever the Sheriff’s Office recommends firings or long-term suspensions for officers. Earlier this year, Dart posted rulings from the Merit Board on the sheriff's website.

The videos were posted at

Cook County recently paid more than $10 million to install more than 2,400 cameras throughout its jail complex.

(Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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