One of the two Cook County Jail inmates who orchestrated a violent cellblock takeover last week had a reputation for attacks on corrections officers, including one two months ago in which he seriously injured a Kankakee officer, authorities say.
Cordarryl Stevenson, 27, has been locked up since September 2014 in connection with an October 2013 carjacking in Skokie, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office and records. In the past year, Stevenson twice was accused of physically assaulting officers and three times flung urine and feces at jailers, said Cara Smith, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.
In May, Stevenson was transferred to a Kankakee County jail for disciplinary reasons. Within about a week he “badly beat” a corrections officer, Smith said.
Chad Kolitwenzew, Kankakee County sheriff’s chief of corrections, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Stevenson was transferred back to Cook County Jail, where he and another inmate, Martin Alvarado, 24, took over a cellblock for three hours Thursday. Alvarado was being held on a murder charge in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s 18-month-old son in Cicero last spring.
The dilemma of how to handle habitually violent detainees remains a difficult challenge for jails, where disciplinary actions don’t appear to deter bad behavior as inmates wait for their cases to be resolved. Cook County sheriff’s officials have recently solicited help from inmates’ defense attorneys to discourage attacks against officers and other inmates. “The shameful reality is that these cases languish for far too long,” Smith said.
Around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Stevenson and Alvarado put soapy water all over the floor and blocked security cameras before pulling them out entirely, according to a news release.
At one point, Stevenson held a long piece of metal to a kneeling inmate’s head and mouthed, “You can’t help him,” as other inmates watched from lunchroom tables in the cellblock, a chilling Cook County sheriff’s office video shows.
In a second video, a woman says, “He just stabbed him again. He just stabbed him in the leg,” before the jail’s Emergency Response Team entered in riot gear about 7:30 p.m. The inmate who was stabbed suffered what appeared to be minor injuries and has since been released from the hospital, Smith said.