Former Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Using Excessive Force Against Detainee in Maywood
CHICAGO—A former Cook County sheriff’s deputy was sentenced today to one year in federal prison for violating the civil rights of a man who was being held in the county’s detention lockup facility in Maywood in 2010. The defendant, RAFAEL MUNOZ, pleaded guilty in September to using unreasonable force.
“What happened here was extremely serious,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez said in imposing the sentence in U.S. District Court. Munoz was ordered to begin serving his sentence on Feb. 6 and was placed on supervised release for one year following his prison term.
In pleading guilty, Munoz, 39, of Chicago, admitted that he grabbed and forcibly pulled the chain that connected a pretrial detainee’s ankle shackles to each other, causing the victim to flip forward and hit his head and face on the concrete floor. As a result of using excessive force, the victim suffered injuries, including a broken nose, a broken tooth, swelling, bruising, and bleeding from cuts to his lip and nose.
Munoz became a sheriff’s deputy in August 2006 and resigned in 2013. As part of his plea agreement, Munoz agreed not to seek or accept any future law enforcement employment or any position that would require or permit him to supervise or care for detainees or prisoners.
According to court records, the victim, identified as M.O., was arrested on July 8, 2010, and transported to the Maywood lockup, where he was detained in a holding cell. In that cell, M.O. was restrained with his hands handcuffed behind his back and his legs in ankle shackles. Shortly after 2 a.m. on July 8, 2010, Munoz entered the cell in response to M.O.’s request to loosen his handcuffs. Munoz ordered M.O. to turn around and face the wall and M.O. complied with Munoz’s instructions such that M.O.’s back and handcuffs faced Munoz while M.O. faced the rear of the cell. Throughout Munoz’s interaction with M.O., the victim complied with Munoz’s orders and did not pose a threat to Munoz, any other person, or himself.
After forcing the victim to fall by pulling his ankle chain, Munoz admitted that he attempted to cover up his use of excessive force by completing three false law enforcement reports. In each of those documents, Munoz reported that he entered the cell and “grabbed [M.O.’s] handcuffs to loosen at which time [M.O.] rolled onto the cell floor,” which Munoz knew was false.
The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrianna Kastanek and Nathalina Hudson and DOJ Trial Attorney Ali Ahmad.