WASHINGTON – Three Carolina, Puerto Rico, Municipal Police Department officers were indicted by a federal grand jury today for civil rights and obstruction of justice violations, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Rosa E. Rodriguez-Velez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, and Luis Fraticelli, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.
The indictment alleges that in February 2007, officers Johnny Cruz-Gonzalez, Luis Diaz-Ruiz, and Karimar Peraza-Salgado violated the victim’s civil rights by striking him with batons and otherwise assaulting him, resulting in bodily injury. The indictment further charges the officers with obstruction of justice violations concerning their efforts to cover up the assault.
The maximum possible penalty for the civil rights violation is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each of the three officers also face two separate obstruction of justice charges, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case will be prosecuted by Trial Attorney Avner Shapiro and Special Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmona Marquez. This case was investigated by the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.