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Protest Gay-Bashing & Other Assaults By Cook County Jail Guards

Yelling “fag,” “queer” and “cocksucker,” Cook County Jail guards savagely assaulted a gay Chicagoan, Terry Phalen, on Wednesday, October 27th at the 26th and California facility, the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN) recently learned. Terry suffered hairline fractures in both wrists and two ribs, and bruises over much of his body after guards slugged him and then kicked him repeatedly as he lay handcuffed on the floor of the intake facility at the jail.

“’Put your hands behind your back,’ [a guard said] and I had them in front of me,” Phalen recalled. “He came up to me and asked me where my hands were supposed to be. I said that I wasn’t sure because I didn’t hear him because I’m 38 years old and I have a little hearing disorder. That’s when he hit me in the face with his fist. He was wearing leather gloves. He threw me down and handcuffed me real tightly, and threw me onto a pile of trash. Then he started dragging me by my hands.

“When I told him that I had just been to the hospital for convulsions, he told me to ‘Shut up’ and started kicking me with his boots. He kicked my ribs, kicked me in the head, kicked me in the back, the legs, and just started attacking me real brutally. I was hit maybe 25 to 30 times, 3 or 4 with the fists, the rest with their feet.”

Phalen believes guards were trying to make an example of him as he was among approximately 50-75 men being processed into Cook County Jail that morning. Phalen is charged with car theft.

Earlier, at the Foster Avenue police station, Phelan was denied the opportunity to make a phone call and was not read his rights. The result was that he was held incommunicado from his daughter from Wednesday morning through Saturday afternoon. On November 9 plainsclothes cops searched Phalen’s apartment without a warrant.

The assault on Phalen may be part of a pattern of systemic physical attacks by guards at the intake area of the jail. During a 1½ to 2 hour period after he was attacked, Phalen lay crumpled on the floor of the area and witnessed two other, separate assaults on inmates by Cook County Jail guards.

“There was another younger Black guy in his 20s, who they knocked to the floor and beat on him so much that there was a big pool of blood. They kicked him when he was down…. Then there was an older Black guy, he had to be 50 or 55. They broke his glasses when they hit him in the face, and kicked him in the back when he went to retrieve his glasses.”

Given the at best, grudging governmental response to the recent spate of police shootings in Chicago and the suburbs, CABN has no confidence that Sheriff Sheehan’s Internal Investigations Department will conduct a proper investigation of these attacks and fire the officers involved.

Get involved!

Telephone Cook County President John Stroger -- 312/603-6400 -- and demand an independent investigation of the intake area at Cook County Jail, with subpoena powers for the investigators to obtain the necessary documents and interview witnesses. Those found to have committed assaults must be fired and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, just as a civilian would be.

Hate crimes committed by law enforcement demand particular scrutiny -- hate-mongers with badges give tacit government approval to hate in the community at large.



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