Former Puerto Rico Police Officer Found Guilty Of Making False Statements
SAN JUAN, PR – Yesterday evening, after a seven-day jury trial, a jury found POPR Agent Iris Rivera Figueroa guilty of making false statements to federal authorities during a civil rights investigation, announced U.S. Attorney Rosa E. Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico. The trial was presided by U.S. District Court Judge Pedro A. Delgado.
On June 30, 2016, a 12-count indictment was unsealed charging four former Police of Puerto Rico (POPR) Caguas Drug Unit officers with civil rights violations and obstruction of justice arising out of a police operation conducted in Caguas, Puerto Rico, on August 15, 2015. The indictment alleged that during the police operation, the officers used excessive force against two arrestees and that they unlawfully seized, concealed and destroyed evidence of their misconduct.
According to the indictment, while acting under color of law, POPR Sergeant Maximo Cano Diaz physically struck an individual identified only as A.C.N., resulting in bodily injury. While acting under color of law, POPR Agent Antonio Rodríguez Ortiz assaulted an individual, identified only as G.A.H., by deploying a taser onto G.A.H.’s body, which resulted in bodily injury. Cano, Rodríguez and former POPR Agent Javier Ortiz González then commanded an individual, identified only as X.R.C., to stop recording video and surrender her cell phone while pointing a taser at her. The defendants allegedly then pursued X.R.C. to the gate of her home; seized her cell phone, which was used, in part, to record police conduct on or about August 15, 2015; and erased the contents of the cell phone by resetting the phone to its factory settings. On the same day, Cano allegedly seized and kept a cell phone belonging to another individual, identified only as J.R.D., which was also used to record police conduct. According to the allegations, Cano, Ortiz and POPR Agent Iris Rivera Figueroa then made false statements to cover up the conduct.
Cano plead guilty to one count of obstruction of justice on May 21, 2018 and his sentencing is scheduled for September 21, 2018. Javier Ortiz González plead guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law on May 21, 2018, and his sentencing is scheduled for September 21, 2018. Antonio Rodríguez Ortiz went to trial in June of 2018 and was found not guilty of one count of obstruction of justice.
Iris Rivera Figueroa is facing a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The sentencing was scheduled for November 9, 2018, at 10:00 AM. This case was investigated by the FBI’s San Juan Division and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney José Contreras.
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