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Monday, January 12, 2015

Former Puerto Rico Police Officer Sentenced for Obstructing Civil Rights Investigation

Former Police of Puerto Rico Officer Angel Torres Quinones was sentenced today to serve 46 months in prison for obstructing the civil rights investigation into the fatal beating of Jose Luis Irizarry Perez, 19, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez for the District of Puerto Rico and Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases of the FBI San Juan Field Office.  

Torres Quinones pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for providing misleading information to the local Puerto Rico prosecutor who initially investigated the police-involved beating of Irizarry Perez.  Five other former Puerto Rico police officers, who also pleaded guilty, are currently awaiting sentencing for their roles in the beating of Irizarry Perez and subsequent obstruction of the investigation.  According to documents filed in connection with the guilty pleas, two former Puerto Rico police officers violated the constitutional rights of Irizarry Perez by striking him with their police batons while another former police officer physically restrained Irizarry Perez during an election evening celebration at the Las Colinas housing development in Yauco, Puerto Rico, on Nov. 5, 2008.    

U.S. District Court Judge Juan M. Perez Gimenez issued the sentence, which will be followed by three years of supervised release.  During the three-year term, the defendant will be under federal supervision, and risks additional prison time should he violate any terms of his supervised release. 

“The department will continue to ensure that those who cover up civil rights violations are brought to justice,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Gupta.  “Like an officer who unnecessarily uses excessive force, a police officer who obstructs a civil rights investigation violates his oath to the people he serves.”

“Today’s sentencing brings a measure of justice to the family of Jose Luis Irizarry Perez,” said U.S. Attorney Rodriguez-Vélez.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners will hold accountable those who abuse their power and official positions at the expense of constitutionally guaranteed civil rights.”

This case was investigated by the FBI’s San Juan Division and is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan and Trial Attorneys Shan Patel and Olimpia E. Michel of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose A. Contreras for the District of Puerto Rico.

Updated August 27, 2015