Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart wants you to know he's keeping an eye on the "duty injury king" — a corrections officer known among his peers for submitting false injury claims while on the job — and others like him.
The sheriff's office released a video tape Wednesday that purports to show the time and location where a corrections officer claimed he slipped and fell, injuring his back on Nov. 20.
The officer is now suspended without pay, and the sheriff wants to press criminal charges.
The sheriff's office's claim about the video states:
On November 20th of last year a Correctional Officer submitted a false injury report claiming that he sustained a back injury while returning from transporting a detainee. He reported to other staff the he slipped and fell by a specific gate. His account of his injury conflicts with not just the video footage... but also with the witnesses’ accounts of what he told others regarding the incident. ...
After the CO returned to the Division in which he was working, he reported a fall on the water to a Lieutenant for the Cook County Department of Corrections. The Lieutenant and a Sergeant then went to the area where he told him it occurred and witnessed a water spot that appeared to be the size of a quarter. It was also reported that this quarter sized drop of water was not in front of the gate and that someone would have to go out of their way to step in it.
“Over $8 million of my budget is allocated for the payment of Worker’s Compensation claims, yet I have no control of how the claims are investigated, defended, or paid,” Dart said in a statement.
The sheriff wants the defense of such claims to be put out to public bid and be handled by a private law firm that specializes in workers compensation cases.
More than 440 cases are pending before the State of Illinois Industrial Commission, according to a statement by Dart, that are being handled by a small number of Cook County assistant state’s attorneys whose caseloads exceed 200 cases per attorney.
This post is published on Patches in the Cook County network.