Three Former Bureau of Prisons Correctional Officers and a Lieutenant of the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center Convicted of Charges Stemming from Inmate Beating and Subsequent Cover-up
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – Jamie Toro and Glen Cummings, former correctional officers at the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Metropolitan Detention Center (“MDC”) in Brooklyn, New York, today were convicted by a jury of violating the civil rights of a former MDC inmate by beating the inmate in April 2006. Toro and Cummings, along with former Lieutenant Elizabeth Torres and Correctional Officer Angel Perez, were convicted of obstructing justice by covering up the beating. Toro was also convicted of making a false statement regarding the beating. Toro and Cummings face a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment for the civil rights violation, and all four defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for obstructing justice. Toro also faces five years’ imprisonment for the false statement charge. A fifth former officer was acquitted of all charges.
In April 2006, Toro and other officers escorted an inmate from the housing unit, where the inmate had assaulted another correctional officer, to an elevator in order to move him to solitary confinement. Upon entering the elevator, Toro stuck out his leg and threw the inmate, who was handcuffed behind his back, face-down onto the steel plated floor of the elevator. At that point, Cummings ran onto the elevator and repeatedly stomped on the inmate’s back and shoulders while the inmate was restrained on the floor. The force of the blows left the imprint of Cummings’ boot imbedded in the flesh of the inmate’s back. While the beating took place, Torres and Perez watched from the hallway outside the elevator door. The officers’ assault was caught on a newly installed digital recording system connected to a video camera mounted in the corner of the elevator.
Toro, Cummings, Torres, and Perez then obstructed the Federal Bureau of Prison’s (“BOP”) investigation into the use of force against the inmate by failing to disclose the assault, as is required of all correctional officers. Toro further stated falsely in a memorandum submitted to the BOP that the inmate had become combative while being escorted by the officers, thereby prompting the use of force against him.
Previously, two other guards involved in the cover-up pled guilty to false statement charges stemming from the assault.
The guilty verdicts announced today follow the October 2007 conviction after trial of former MDC Captain Salvatore Lopresti and the convictions by guilty pleas of four other MDC correctional officers, all of whom were under Lopresti’s command, for participating in a planned attack on a former MDC inmate and the subsequent cover-up in November 2002. Thereafter, Lopresti pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal grand jury investigation in April 2004 by making false statements to the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, concerning memoranda he had issued to several MDC correctional officers which enabled them to purchase and carry concealed off-duty weapons without obtaining a required firearms permit.
“Protecting the civil rights of individuals to be free from the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers is a priority of this office,” stated United States Attorney Benton J. Campbell. Mr. Campbell thanked the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, for its assistance in investigating and prosecuting the case.
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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