A lawsuit filed Thursday against Cook County alleges that prisoners are at "constant risk of life-threatening violence" due to a "sadistic culture of brutality and violence."
The lawsuit was filed by Northwestern University's MacArthur Justice Center and features the sworn statements of close to 100 inmates, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“The sadistic violence and brutality at the Cook County Jail is not the work of a few rogue officers,” reads the class action lawsuit. “It is a systemic problem that has remained unchecked at the highest levels of Cook County government. The defendants havehad actual knowledge of this pattern of violence for years – if not decades."
Racist and homophobic bravado among officers, physical violence towards handcuffed prisoners, officer assault against inmates who request mental health care, failure to intervene in and the actual instigation of inmates fights by officers, and physical abuse are among the complaints listed in the suit.
The suit reportedly seeks to "to end the abusive and barbaric practices at the jail and to establish a system of effective oversight."
The offices of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and county Sheriff Tom Dart had no comment upon the newspaper's request. Although Preckwinkle's spokesperson did say her office was reviewing the legal documents.