Man gets 9 years for attacking Cook County jail officers

One of two men charged with attacking three corrections officers in the Cook County jail’s maximum security wing has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Sharelle Sims, 26, pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated battery of a correctional officer causing great bodily harm, according to court records. Prosecutors dropped attempted murder, kidnapping, and three felony resisting charges.

The attack began as a corrections officer distributed breakfast to detainees in the jail’s Division IX maximum security wing around 3:40 a.m. on April 14, 2020. The sheriff’s office released a video of the attack later that day.

At the time, the sheriff’s office said the officer allowed Sims’ cellmate, 30-year-old inmate Dante Jeffries, to get a cup of water on a lower tier of the facility. When Jeffries returned, he allegedly attacked the officer from behind, grabbed him by his neck, and dragged the officer into his cell.

Jeffries then got on top of the officer and choked him until he lost consciousness, officials said. Meanwhile, Sims used the officer’s keys to begin unlocking other cell doors, according to allegations.

Two other corrections officers who ran to assist the first victim were also injured. One of them was hospitalized in serious condition.

Jeffries “violently struck the third officer in the face and knocked him unconscious…Then went to the second officer who was tending to his colleague and violently struck him, knocking him to the ground,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson said after the attack. Jeffries used bars of soap in a sock wrapped around his wrist to attack the officer, according to a preliminary investigation.

Jeffries, Sims, and a third detainee who had been let out of his cell returned to their cells when a sergeant arrived with a Taser.

The officer who was attacked while rendering aid was hospitalized for treatment of serious injuries. The other two officers were treated and released.

Sims had been in custody for about eight months while awaiting trial on charges of armed habitual criminal and possessing a firearm with a defaced serial number.

Judge William Gamboney sentenced Sims, who will receive 875 days credit for time spent in custody before pleading. Sims’ sentence will be reduced by 50% for good behavior, giving him an anticipated parole date of October 8, 2024, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records. Sims was convicted of armed robbery and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in 2016

At the time of the attack, Jeffries had been in jail since July 2017 on charges of attempted murder, aggravated battery of a police officer, aggravated kidnapping, and 110 other felonies, according to the sheriff’s office. Among other crimes, he is accused of shooting a Chicago police officer who responded to a cell phone store robbery on the city’s South Side.

The allegations against Jeffries are still pending. He is due back in court next week.

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