Teamsters Local 700 received calls on Friday, April 15 from both ABC Channel 7 and NBC Channel 5 regarding the Cook County Department of Corrections videos that were released to the media. We wanted to share this with the membership so you can see what we submitted versus what they actually used in the news segments, which aired at 5 p.m. that evening.
In a response about the videos shared by Sheriff Dart, President Strzechowski said the following:
Teamsters Local 700 sees this as nothing but a political move by Tom Dart, who is clearly seeking a public office position other than being Sheriff. After several years as in his current position, Dart has now decided to be transparent concerning these alleged excessive force incidents which makes us ask more questions:
- Why are the inmates faces blacked out and not the officers?
Why doesn’t he show all the videos of incidents where inmates are attacking officers?
- Where are all the videos of inmates sexually assaulting our officers?
- Where’s the video of the Division 2 altercation last week where nearly 100 detainees rioted and our officers had to do everything in their power to stop it?
Posting these videos on public websites is not only a violation of privacy of our officers, but it’s infringing on their right to a fair trial. The “transparency” of these videos – as Dart calls it – only goes one way. It’s not a true outlook of what happens at the jail on a daily basis, which are only small clips of the entire alleged incidents.
Clearly this is a poor representation of the collective issues at the jail. Just this week there was an officer at Division 10 that was dragged into a cell by an inmate and beaten. That officer needed plastic surgery to reconfigure part of his face. Where’s that video?
These officers are terminated for defending themselves – which every human being has the right to do – and yet Dart’s handpicked Merit Board terminated them. Teamsters Local 700 is fighting the majority of these cases on appeal in a fair court.
This breach of trust by Dart is nothing new. We’ve seen him violate the contract many times with these ploys to the media and the public. Through a union poll, 96 percent of the staff said they have no faith in this administration to provide a safe and secure environment for everyone.
Local 700 believes when you put a career politician with no law enforcement experience in the position of sheriff, the chance of someone getting seriously injured or killed is imminent. We’re not going to let Dart advance his political career on the backs of the hardworking correctional officers at the Cook County jail.