A federal grand jury in Albuquerque has issued a seven-count indictment charging three corrections officers at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) with various crimes related to the assault of an inmate housed at MDC on Dec. 21, 2011, and subsequent attempts to cover up and impede the investigation of the assault.
The indictment was announced today by Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division; Kenneth J. Gonzales, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico; and Carol K.O. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office.
Demetrio Juan Gonzales, 39, is charged with violating the civil rights of the victim when, while in the identification office of MDC, he delivered knee-strikes to the victim without provocation or resistance on the part of the victim. Likewise, Gonzales is also charged with violating the civil rights of the victim when he struck and choked the victim while in the shower area of MDC.
Kevin James Casaus, 23, is charged with violating the victim’s civil rights when he shoved and struck the victim while in the shower area. He is also charged with obstruction of justice and falsification of records, first for making false statements to detectives of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and then for falsifying his incident report. Both Gonzales and Casaus are no longer employed by MDC.
Matthew David Pendley, 25, is charged with obstruction of justice for making false statements to BCSO detectives and also for tampering with evidence by cleaning up blood from the shower area.
A conviction for violating a person’s civil rights carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A conviction for obstruction of justice carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark T. Baker for the District of New Mexico and Trial Attorney Fara Gold of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.