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Press Release

Former California Correctional Officer Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Prison for Civil Rights Violations Regarding Assaults on Inmates and Cover Up Inside CSP Sacramento

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Arturo Pacheco, 40, of Elk Grove, was sentenced today to 12 years and seven months in prison for criminal civil rights violations for the on‑duty assault of two inmates entrusted to his care and for submitting false reports about those incidents in an attempt to cover them up, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

“When correctional officers deprive inmates of their civil rights and abuse their position of authority, they must be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Talbert. “Today’s sentence sends the message that those who violate the public’s trust by harming inmates ‘under the color of law’ or by covering up wrongdoing are not above the law.”

According to court documents, Pacheco was a correctional officer at California State Prison, Sacramento (CSP-Sacramento). On Sept. 15, 2016, while escorting an inmate, Pacheco grabbed the inmate’s legs and pulled them out from under him. The inmate, whose hands were handcuffed behind his back, fell forward onto the concrete floor, breaking his jaw and several teeth, and suffering other injuries. That inmate was transported to UC Davis Medical Center where he received treatment for his injuries. Approximately two days later, the inmate suffered a pulmonary embolism and died. While the inmate was receiving treatment, Pacheco, a sergeant, and other correctional officers began falsifying reports to cover up the incident.

Following the death of the inmate, investigators uncovered a second incident involving Pacheco. In that incident, on May 19, 2016, Pacheco had, unprovoked, discharged a canister of pepper spray at short range into the eyes of an inmate who was inside a cell. Pacheco falsified his report in that case to make it appear as though his actions were justified in order to save the life of the inmate. In reality, the inmate was fully complying with commands, and any use of force at that time was unlawful.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the cooperation of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Internal Affairs. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Anderson and Rosanne L. Rust prosecuted the case.

Fellow former California State Prison, Sacramento correctional officer, Ashley M. Aurich, charged separately, pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 12, 2022.

Updated October 17, 2022

Violent Crime
Civil Rights