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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 4, 2021

Former Correction Officer Charged With Using Excessive Force Against Inmate At Green Haven Correctional Facility

Officer Charged With Criminal Civil Rights Violation

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Anthony J. Annucci, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (“DOCCS”), announced today the unsealing of a federal indictment, charging former correction officer AARON FINN with violating the constitutional rights of an inmate in the custody of the DOCCS.  FINN is alleged to have willfully used excessive force amounting to cruel and unusual punishment against a restrained inmate by striking and thrashing him, causing bodily injury to that inmate, in violation the inmate’s rights under the United States Constitution. FINN was arrested this morning, and was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew E. Krause in White Plains federal court this afternoon. This case been assigned to U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Román.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “Correction officer Aaron Finn allegedly assaulted an inmate whom he was sworn not only to guard—but also to protect.  The manner in which a country treats its incarcerated is indicative of its values, and today’s indictment underscores that incarceration should not result in undue loss of human dignity. Unfair and illegal abuses to those serving their debt to society cannot and will not be tolerated by this Office.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll said: “Those charged with maintaining a stable environment within the prison system are not exempt from facing charges themselves if their conduct crosses constitutional lines. Today we allege Finn did just that when he applied excessive force against an inmate. Allegations of this type will always be investigated and never be tolerated.”

DOCCS Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci said:  “The Department is overwhelmingly comprised of dedicated, professional staff who take their jobs seriously and carry out their duties in a professional manner, and those few who choose to violate their oath of office,  are not welcome among our ranks. The message here is loud and clear: criminal behavior will not be tolerated and those who break the law will be held accountable and prosecuted. I am proud that the Department’s Office of Special Investigations was able to partner with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this arrest and the pursuit of justice.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment[1] unsealed today in White Plains federal court:

Green Haven Correctional Facility is a maximum security prison located in the town of Stormville, New York, and is maintained by the DOCCS.  At the time of the deprivation of the inmate’s constitutional rights, FINN was employed at Green Haven as a correction officer. On March 19, 2020, while working at Green Haven, FINN struck an inmate in DOCCS custody (“Inmate-1”) multiple times, and thrashed Inmate-1’s body and head while Inmate-1 was restrained.

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AARON FINN, 35, of Hyde Park, New York, is charged with one count of deprivation of civil rights under color of law, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the FBI, and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Office of Special Investigations.   

The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division and Civil Rights Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Charles S. Jacob and Lindsey Keenan are in charge of the prosecution.

The allegations in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the descriptions of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

 
Contact: 
Nicholas Biase, James Margolin (212) 637- 2600
Press Release Number: 
21-314
Updated November 4, 2021