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Resource ID: #20863
Subject: Prisons
Source: Chicago Tribune
Date: 2003-12-31



"On a winter night in 1999, an elite squad of guards at the Cook County Jail in Chicago invaded a cellblock and, for hours, terrorized hundreds of inmates. With the unit's commander standing atop a table and barking orders, guards forced inmates to strip and proceeded to beat them. Later, the guards falsified records to cover up the assault and for years succeeded in derailing internal investigations into inmate complaints. The cover-up lasted for four years until Chicago Tribune staff reporters Steve Mills and Maurice Possley received a tip about the mass beating." The resulting story blew the lid off the beating scandal, and led to a number of public officials running for cover. Sheriff Michael Sheahan had come to his job promising solutions to the overcrowded jail and to end policies of brutality. Wondering why the Sheriff had allowed such a mass beating to take place and be covered up, the Tribune took a closer look at his campaign contributions -- and discovered the story went a lot deeper than they realized.

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