Michael F. Sheahan is a son of Chicago police officer, a long-time crony with Alderman Edward Burke and former Mayor Richard Daley ; and one of the most corrupt public officers who operated a Guantanamo-style correctional facilities in Cook County; and regularly placed his cronies on judicial seats in Cook County Court.
Sheahan has created a culture that places politics above integrity, that rewards animal behavior with ambivalence or, worse, promotion. He operates with virtually no oversight. And largely because he has focused so much attention on amassing a powerful political fiefdom
Sheahan’s conduct cost over $63.5 million to Cook County taxpayers in numerous settlements for his abusive practices and terror against helpless Illinois civilians, which included but not limited to:
Since 1998, lawyers representing Sheahan’s office had recommended settling at least 35 lawsuits that accused deputies of brutality, citing convincing evidence that the beatings had taken place. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office consistently worried that it could lose at trial because sheriff’s personnel had falsified jail reports, lost documents or provided untruthful or contradictory accounts. Sheahan’s office said its internal reports offered different versions of those incidents–yet refused to release those records.
- In 2001, the county paid $6.8 million to settle a class action lawsuit on behalf of 2,600 female inmates who were forced to undergo unauthorized and humiliating strip searches in jail, on top of 32 brutality lawsuits totaling $1.5 million in damages. Three sheriff’s officers are currently on trial in the beating death of Louis Schmude, who smarted off to a jailer at the Bridgeview courthouse, and a fourth was indicted last year in connection with the strangling death of Michael Chambers during a brawl at a suburban wedding reception
2. Dr. Linda Sheldon reported involuntarily force heavy psychotropic drugs like Haldol, Zyprexa, Ativan and even Benedryl by injection on patients unless they are an immediate danger to their own life or someone else’s life and then a court order must be obtained to continue the medication involuntarily. Also Haldol has very unpleasant side affects in a large proportion of patients including akisthesia (an inability to stay still – the person has to get up from bed and from sitting down – so the guards will think they are uncooperative and will assault the person even more), dystonia (muscle spasms, involuntary movements, tongue handing out, inability to control muscles of speech so slurred or difficult speech, if it happens with muscles of larynx the person will spasm down the airway and suffocate).Cook County Dept. of Corrections (Cook County Jail or CCDOC) officers constantly request nurses to give such medication to shut up complaints by inmates, to quiet them and in retaliation for disagreements with the officers. Nurses call doctors on the phone and ask for prescriptions and the doctors illegally prescribe the medication without examining the patients. Even if they examine the patients, doctors at CCDOC under the direction of the Director of Psychiatry, Dr. David Carrington, continue to violate ethical standards and the law with such prescriptions when they are not needed and when there has not been adequate evaluations or diagnoses that require such medication. Even if the medications may be indicated, they cannot be given involuntarily except under strict guidelines. Haldol is a dangerous drug that should not be used like a pair of handcuffs and the person must be carefully monitored. It is a drug of last resort, not a weapon of restraint. Anyone using it as a restraint tool should be arrested.
3. In 2010 Cook County taxpayers paid $55 million Settlement for strip searching people who were awaiting bail on minor crimes like traffic violations. He also found that the jail would perform the searches by humiliating detainees with group strip searches, standing shoulder to shoulder in unsanitary conditions Over 400 class members also submitted affidavits attesting that the guards used insults or abusive language during strip searches, including insults about body odor, anatomy, sexual orientation and race.In August of 2009, a jury found that Sheriff Tom Dart was liable to the class, although the suit was filed filed against Sheriff Michael Sheahan.
Sheahan’s judicial cronies included but not limited to:
Judge Patricia O’Brien Sheahan, Law Division, (likely daughter-in-law, wife of Sheahan’s son Terrance J Sheahan, equity partner of Freeborn &Peters who regularly appears in Law Division of Cook County Court and represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of commercial matters and business disputes including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, tortious interference, fraud, trade-secret and non-compete disputes, defamation, partnership wind-ups, insurance coverage and other multi-million dollar disputes in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. He also has experience in class action litigation and civil rights defense including cases relating to malicious prosecution, conspiracy, municipal liability and constitutional law. Before joining Freeborn, T.J. served as a Prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Judge Daniel Patrick Brennan, Chancery Division, Sheriff’s general counsel, who is to be sworn into office Monday, gave bar groups the cold shoulder, refusing to fill out a questionnaire or sit for an interview. Brennan was “not recommended” – but had the political backing of Sheahan and the sheriff’s office and was able to have people at almost every polling place,” Scrementi said. “It’s tough to fight a political army.”Brennan won 61 percent to 39 percent. In the Democratic primary in March, Brennan finished first in a nine-person field with 18.7 percent of the vote.
Judge Jim Ryan, Municipal Division, a second cousin of Sheahan‘s, and an attorney for the sheriff, also ran in the 15th Subcircuit in 2006. Ryan became enmeshed in controversy when he took the 5th Amendment repeatedly while questioned in a civil lawsuit over the alleged beating of Cook County Jail inmates in 2000
Judge Brian Flaherty, Municipal Division (Markham) who had been a sheriff’s attorney and got a boost from IL Democratic Party Speaker, Michael Madigan, who regularly patronage judicial elections through his so-called Madigan’s Lists. Judge Brian K. Flaherty said he has no idea how he ended up on Madigan’s 2003 list. Flaherty, former counsel to then-Democratic Sheriff Michael Sheahan, said he learned about it after the letter was sent to the voting judges.
Judge James McGing, Law Division (Tax and other remedies) who is also a former Sheahan campaign manager, has a mixed record on evaluations. In a losing race in 2004, McGing was evaluated–and deemed qualified–by the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and a suburban bar association. He declined to appear before other relevant groups in 2004, and those alliance groups refused to interview him this year under a policy that only lets candidates apply to be evaluated every three years
Currently Sheahan is pushing his crony, corrupt Lawyer Michael I. O’Malley, into a judicial seat, despite his losing 2016 judicial election.
Sheahan politically connected brother, Thomas Sheahan , (also brother to James “Skinny” Sheahan, a long-time aide to ex-Mayor Richard M. Daley) — wouldn’t say if or how he was involved in the origin of the pension sweetener.boost his pension by more than $30,000 a year — while saddling unsuspecting taxpayers in Oak Brook with nearly $750,000 in funding liabilities, the Chicago Sun-Times and Better Government Association have learned.
The recipient of that larger pension, Thomas Sheahan, is a former police chief in Oak Brook, the current village manager in Lyons and a member of a Democratic clan that has helped rule Chicago’s Southwest Side for decades. Sharp-tongued and unapologetic about benefitting from the provision that no one else has used, the 59-year-old Sheahan said of his pension: “I worked for 24 f—— years [in the public sector], I deserve every penny of it and I deserve a lot f—— more.” Retiring from Oak Brook last spring, Sheahan now is drawing an annual payout of nearly $77,000. Although pension records show that’s about $32,000 more than he would have received had he retired at the same point without the legislation, Sheahan said it’s still a relatively modest sum.
Sheahan’s politically connected son, Michael Sheahan Jr., , testified (in public jobs’ patronage scandal involved hiring an unqualified 19-year-old building inspector) that in the late 1990s, McCarthy regularly provided him with names of job applicants for positions in the Department of Aviation. The younger Sheahan was in charge of personnel in the department. He told jurors that the applicants on McCarthy’s lists were always given job interviews (this sentence as published has been corrected in this text). Sheahan said he sought and received immunity to testify because he feared he could be indicted.
Michael Sheahan’s election donors included mostly wealthy financial corporations, like Mesirow Financial and well-connected lawyers.
Surprisingly, Sheahan expenses related to Mesirow Financial significantly exceeded the amount contributed by Mesirow to his campaign:
Published by Tribune February 28, 2003
“There’s only one thing more outrageous than reports that a select squad of 40 Cook County Jail guards systematically beat, kicked, stomped and terrorized inmates with unmuzzled dogs one night in 1999. It’s that the allegations come as no surprise.
Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan’s operation is out of control. His undisciplined sheriff’s and correctional staff have been caught up in so many incidents of brutality, wrongdoing, falsification of reports and otherwise inappropriate behavior that the only way to count them is by the number of taxpayer dollars that are shelled out in their wake for legal settlements.
Sheahan refuses to learn from past mistakes. He refuses to fix serious, life-threatening problems that are stunningly obvious to everyone but him and his legion of lapdogs.
He has created a culture that places politics above integrity, that rewards animal behavior with ambivalence or, worse, promotion. He operates with virtually no oversight. And largely because he has focused so much attention on amassing a powerful political fiefdom, voters inexplicably tolerate him. It must stop now.
In Thursday’s Tribune, reporters Steve Mills and Maurice Possley detailed not only the alleged Feb. 24, 1999, beatings of at least 49 inmates, but also the efforts by Sheahan’s staff to delay a subsequent report by the sheriff’s own Internal Affairs Division, falsify records and deny the incident ever occurred.
The Tribune article was based on documents from Internal Affairs, along with sheriff sources and prisoner interviews.
Sheahan’s spokeswoman offered this response: “I can tell you that the inspector general has found that there is no evidence to sustain or corroborate allegations of excessive force.”
The investigation of the officers isn’t over, it goes now to the acting executive director of the jail. But all indications are that nothing will come of this but a few slaps on the wrist.
This process has dragged on for four years without resolution. A three-year statute of limitations on criminal charges has expired.
The Tribune reported last year that since 1998, lawyers representing Sheahan’s office have been unusually busy. In that time, they recommended settling at least 35 lawsuits that accused deputies of brutality, figuring that based on the evidence it was unlikely the sheriff would win those cases in court.
The Cook County Board has had to shell out millions in civil settlements and attorneys’ fees defending county correctional officers and sheriff’s police for their on- and off-duty antics. One case: In 2001, the county paid $6.8 million to settle a class action lawsuit on behalf of 2,600 female inmates who were forced to undergo unauthorized and humiliating strip searches in jail.
“Less than half of all the incidents that occur ever have Internal Affairs reports done,” said Cook County Board Commissioner Michael Quigley, a longtime critic of Sheahan. “And when they are done they’re either delayed or never acted upon. And the people involved are never punished, but very often promoted.”
Why? Because the sheriff’s office knows it can get away with it. In the past, Cook County Board members have made it a shameful custom to pant approvingly whenever Sheahan appeared before them. Hopefully such repugnant obsequiousness will abate with the more reform-minded board members elected last year.
Sheahan can’t fix his own shop. It’s time to bring in a special prosecutor or the U.S. attorney to investigate, and time to create an independent commission to recommend reforms at the sheriff’s office.
Former Mayor Daley and His Role in Chicago Police Torture Cases
n 1982, then Cook County State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley and his first assistant, Richard Devine were specifically informed by Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek that Andrew Wilson had been tortured at Area 2 police headquarters by Jon Burge. Daley and Devine rejected Brezeczek’s request to investigate, and Daley chose instead to publicly commend Burge rather than to prosecute him. As a result, scores of additional African American men were tortured by Burge and his men during the next decade.
When Daley later became Chicago Mayor, he sought to publicly discredit the OPS Goldston Report, which specifically found that there was “systematic abuse” and “planned torture” at Area 2 under Burge. In 2006, Daley gave a sworn “statement” to the Special Prosecutors who were investigating police torture in which he attempted to justify his failure to act, and after the Special Prosectors issued their 2006 Report finding that Burge and his men tortured “with impunity,” promised to apologize to all the torture victims. Instead, in 2008, when the US Attorney did what Daley and Devine refused for decades to do – – – indict Jon Burge – – – Daley again denied any responsibility and made what the press termed a “sarcastic apology.”
In 2010, Federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ordered that Daley be held as a civil Defendant in the Michael Tillman torture case, based on allegations that his decades long involvement in the torture scandal and repeated failure to act to stop it made him part of a conspiracy to cover-up. Daley’s deposition has been scheduled for later this summer.
Read more concerning Daley and his role in the Chicago Police Torture Cases
February 25, 1982 letter from Chicago Police Superintendent Richard Breczek to then State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley informing him of the torture of Andrew Wilson
Sworn Statement of Mayor Richard M. Daley given to Special Prosecutor on June 12, 2006 in regard to the torture that occurred while he was State’s Attorney and Mayor
Sarcastic apology from Mayor Daley to torture victims and “anybody in the City of Chicago”
1990 Goldston Report of Chicago Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards finding that “abuse did occur and that it was systematic” at Area 2
Read more about the torture cases on the Chicago Police Torture page on this site