News and Press Releases

Former Bureau of Prisons Captain Sentenced for Excessive Force Conspiracy, False Statements, and Two Separate Acts of Obstruction of Justice

June 26, 2008

BROOKLYN, NY – Salvatore Lopresti, a former Captain at the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Metropolitan Detention Center (“MDC”) in Brooklyn, NY, was sentenced today to 51 months’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release for his role in two separate criminal schemes he undertook in his official capacity. The sentencing proceeding was held earlier today before United States District Judge Carol B. Amon at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn.

In October 2007, Lopresti was convicted by a jury of conspiring to violate the civil rights of a former MDC inmate, obstructing justice, and making three separate false statements, all in connection with the beating of an inmate in November 2002. Lopresti, who was one of the highest ranking officials at the MDC, 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, Lopresti punched the inmate in the face, and another officer slammed the inmate 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 bedsheet 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 against him. All four of the other officers involved pled guilty to charges relating to their involvement in the beating and cover-up.

One week after being convicted on the charges relating to the November 2002 inmate beating, Lopresti pled guilty to obstructing a separate federal grand jury investigation. In April 2004, the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General (“DOJ/OIG”) was investigating a memorandum that bore Lopresti’s signature and had been used by an MDC correctional officer in order to purchase and carry a concealed off-duty weapon, without obtaining a required firearms permit. During an interview with Special Agents of DOJ/OIG and an Assistant United States Attorney, Lopresti denied writing any such memoranda, and added that he was prepared to testify as such before a federal grand jury that was considering charges against the correctional officer who had used the letter to obtain an off-duty weapon. The investigation ultimately revealed that Lopresti had lied at this meeting, as agents uncovered eight of the memoranda on Lopresti’s MDC computer and in various firearms stores in and around New York City. Handwriting analysis confirmed that Lopresti had in fact signed each memorandum.

“The investigation and prosecution of public officials who betray their oaths to uphold the law is a priority of the Department of Justice and this Office,” stated United States Attorney Benton J. Campbell. “The use of excessive force by law enforcement officers will not be tolerated.” Mr. Campbell thanked the Office of the Inspector General for its invaluable assistance in this case.

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

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