Correctional officer to face felony charges for punch

August 6, 2012 5:25:43 AM PDT
A Cook County correctional officer is facing a felony charge after the punching of an inmate was caught on a surveillance camera.

Sunday night, that former inmate, Rafael Aleman, is talking about the bloody blow.

"It was a totally unexpected sucker punch," Aleman said. "He was just walking towards me and then he just punched me. There was no reason. It was unprovoked."

The blood instantly flowed.

"He busted my lip open and I had to get stitches for it," said Aleman. "It took them what seemed like several hours before they took me to get stitched up."

Now, Cook County correctional officer Rico Palomino, a 12-year veteran, is facing a felony charge for official misconduct. Sunday night, his attorney released a statement: "We are all entitled to defend ourselves, and the Cook County Jail is a dangerous place to work."

Prosecutors say the 20-year-old Aleman, who was detained for a misdemeanor and walked away afterwards, did not make any aggressive moves toward the officer. Along with the criminal case, Aleman is suing Palomino, Sheriff Tom Dart and Cook County.

"This lawsuit is my punch back," Aleman said.

"We hope this lawsuit will be another reform, another change, of how that jail operates and how those correctional officers treat detainees," Aleman's attorney, Neil Toppel, said.

The sheriff's spokesman defends the department, noting that once supervisors saw this tape, the sheriff's office presented the case to State's Attorney Anita Alvarez within five days.

The office "took immediate and decisive action in this violent attack," the spokesman said. "The correctional officer involved has been de-deputized and stripped of police power."

"I think it's important to commend, reluctantly, both Anita Alvarez and Tom Dart to face up to the video they had and prosecute this guard." Scott Sherwin, and Aleman attorney, said.

"I just want justice, not for me, but for anyone else he's abused," Aleman said.

Aleman, prosecutors backed up, palomino asked he to lie...falsified reports to cover it...

Prosecutors say Palomino filed several false reports, even stating that Aleman reached and grabbed his shirt. The video-tape, prosecutors say, showed otherwise.

If Palomino is convicted, he could face two to five years in prison.


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