Federal Grand Jury Indicts Pomona Police Officer on Civil Rights Offense for Allegedly Assaulting Minor at L.A. County Fair
LOS ANGELES – Three officers with the Pomona Police Department (PPD) surrendered earlier today to face federal charges that allege one officer violated the civil rights of a minor who was beaten at the Los Angeles County Fair two years ago, and that all three took illegal steps to justify and cover-up the attack.
PPD Corporal Chad Kenneth Jensen, 50, is charged with deprivation of rights under color of law for allegedly beating the minor victim on September 16, 2015. The indictment alleges that Jensen violated the victim’s constitutional rights, which include the right to be free from the use of unreasonable and unnecessary force, and that the assault resulted in bodily injury.
Jensen and his partner – PPD Officer Prince Taylor Hutchinson, 31 – are charged with preparing false reports that attempted to justify the use of force.
The indictment alleges that, in a report prepared soon after the incident, Jensen falsely wrote that the minor victim attempted to punch Jensen’s face, and that the minor victim came within arm’s reach of another officer who was escorting an individual who had been placed under arrest.
Hutchinson similarly is accused of writing a report that falsely stated the victim had come within two to three feet of the officer who was escorting an individual who had been placed under arrest, and that the victim had attempted to incite unrest among the crowd at the Fair as Hutchinson escorted the minor victim to a holding facility at the Fair.
Jensen and Hutchinson are further charged with obstruction of justice for giving false testimony during state court proceedings regarding criminal charges against the victim. Both Jensen and Hutchinson gave false testimony similar to that in their reports and created the false impression that the minor posed a physical threat to other officers before Jensen assaulted him.
The third defendant in the case – PPD Sergeant Michael Timothy Neaderbaomer, 49, who was assigned to the PPD’s Internal Affairs Unit – is charged with obstruction of justice for making false statements to the victim’s family designed to dissuade them from reporting the incident to law enforcement. According to the indictment, Neaderbaomer “attempted to intimidate and corruptly persuade” the victim and his parents by falsely claiming that the PPD had a video showing the victim punching Jenson and by telling the victim’s mother that the parents would not be allowed to attend PPD’s interview of the victim in relation to the citizen’s complaint, in violation of PPD policy.
Neaderbaomer is also charged with making false statements to FBI agents who were investigating the alleged civil rights violation by Jensen.
All three PPD officers were arraigned on the indictment this afternoon in United States District Court. All three defendants entered not guilty pleas and were ordered released on $50,000 bond. A trial in this case was scheduled for December 19.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
The civil rights charge related to the use of excessive force carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, the charges of witness tampering and falsifying records carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and the charges of false statements to federal agents carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Therefore, if they were to be convicted of the charges in the indictment, Jensen would face a maximum sentence of 50 years, Hutchinson would face up to 40 years, and Neaderbaomer would be subject to a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case against the police officers is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Stout of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and by Justice Department Trial Attorney Donald Tunnage of the Civil Rights Division.