News and Press Releases

Former Bureau of Prisons Captain Convicted of Excessive Force Conspiracy and Obstruction of Justice

October 25, 2007

Salvatore Lopresti, Former Captain of the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, Convicted for Inmate Beating and Subsequent Cover-up

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – Salvatore Lopresti, a former Captain at the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Metropolitan Detention Center (“MDC”) in Brooklyn, New York, today was convicted by a jury of conspiring to violate the civil rights of a former MDC inmate, obstruction of justice, and three separate false statement charges, all in connection with the beating of an inmate in November 2002. Lopresti, who was one of the highest ranking officials at the MDC at the time of the incident, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for the civil rights conspiracy, 20 years for obstructing justice, and five years for each of the false statement charges.

In November 2002, Lopresti and four other MDC correctional officers, all of whom were under Lopresti’s command, participated in a planned attack on a former MDC inmate and the subsequent cover-up. The attack, led by Lopresti, was carried out in retaliation for the inmate’s failure to follow Lopresti’s direction to remove a t-shirt that was tying back the inmate’s dreadlocks. During the attack, the officers punched the inmate and slammed him to the ground, leaving a pool of blood and clumps of the inmate’s dreadlocks on the floor of the cell. After the attack, Lopresti tied the inmate’s bed sheet into a noose and wrapped it around the bars of the cell’s window in order to make it appear that the inmate had tried to hang himself. Subsequently, Lopresti and the other officers covered up the beating by writing false reports, claiming that the inmate had become combative as they attempted to save him from hanging himself, which prompted the officers’ use of force.

Previously, the four other guards involved in the beating pled guilty to charges stemming from the incident, including civil rights violations, obstruction of justice, and false statement charges.

“We are committed to protecting the civil rights of individuals to be free from the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers,” stated United States Attorney Benton J. Campbell. “The investigation and prosecution of public officials who betray their oaths to uphold the law is a priority of this Office.” Mr. Campbell thanked the Office of the Inspector General for its assistance in investigating and prosecuting the case.

“Today’s conviction demonstrates the commitment of the Office of the Inspector General to vigorously investigating and referring for prosecution any correctional officers who abuse detainees and prisoners under the care of the Department,” stated Glenn A. Fine, Inspector General for the Department of Justice. “In addition to victimizing an inmate, LoPresti’s criminal actions also undermined the integrity and safety of the detention facility, other inmates, and other correctional officers.”

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Coyne and Robert M. Radick, assisted by Office of the Inspector General, Special Agent Laura Riley.

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