Two Cook County Jail Inmates take another Hostage

Two Cook County Jail inmates are holding another inmate hostage inside a maximum security division at the jail on Thursday afternoon. Cook County Jail officials say the inmates covered floor with soapy water and ripped out security cameras before taking another inmate hostage at the Cook County jail in Chicago, Illinois. The inmates are armed with what authorities describe as a sharp object.

The situation in maximum-security Division 10 of the Cook County jail at 26th Street and California in Chicago is ongoing as of 6:45 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office. The Cook County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team is working to resolve the situation “peacefully.” There have been no injuries reported.

The Cook County Jail is the largest jail in the United States and one of the largest jail systems in the world. The jail, with an average daily population of over 9,000, for decades has been plagued with overcrowding mismanagement and violent incidents. Cook County Sheriff, Tom Dart admits that much of the jail population is battling mental health and substance abuse problems, which create a revolving door for inmates who aren’t getting the help they need.

Earlier on Thursday, Miguel Ortiz, a Cook County Sheriff’s officer charged with felony official misconduct after he was seen on video tape punching an inmate at the jail was released on his own recognizance. Cook County Judge James Brown watched videos of the beating and said it could be argued that the inmate appeared to be resisting the officer and his colleagues. Judge Brown questioned why authorities took 2 1/2 years to charge Ortiz with official misconduct. It is not known if the hostage situation is related to the officer’s misconduct case.

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