WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury in Fresno, Calif., indicted a former Bureau of Prisons supervisory corrections officer today on charges related to an April 2007 assault on an inmate, the Justice Department announced. Former Lieutenant Eric McEachern was charged with violating the civil rights of an inmate by assaulting the inmate, and with obstructing justice by filing a false report regarding the incident.
If convicted of the civil rights charge, defendant McEachern faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Defendant McEachern faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 if convicted of the obstruction charge.
The grand jury charged that on April 7, 2007, defendant McEachern, while on duty at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atwater, Calif., assaulted and injured an inmate with a flashlight. The indictment also alleges that defendant McEachern falsified a memorandum to a superior in an attempt to obstruct any investigation into the incident.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan and Trial Attorney Josh Mahan of the Criminal Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Rooney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as those laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. In Fiscal Year 2007, the Criminal Section convicted the highest number of defendants in its history, surpassing the record previously set in Fiscal Year 2006. The Division has compiled a significant record on criminal civil rights law enforcement prosecutions. During the last seven years, the Criminal Section obtained convictions of 53 percent more defendants (391 v. 256) in law enforcement prosecutions than the previous seven years.