Kathy Scott And George Santiago, Former New York State Correction Officers At Downstate Prison, Sentenced For Beating Inmate Kevin Moore And Falsifying Records
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that KATHY SCOTT and GEORGE SANTIAGO JR., both former New York State Correction Officers, were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas to 100 months and 87 months, respectively, for the November 12, 2013, beating of Kevin Moore, an inmate at the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, New York, and for falsifying records to cover up the beating.
SCOTT and SANTIAGO were convicted on November 20, 2017, following a two-week jury trial, of assaulting Moore in violation of his rights under the United States Constitution by repeatedly punching and kicking him in the head and body as he lay restrained on the floor. Moore was hospitalized for two weeks with multiple serious injuries from the beating, including facial bone fractures, five broken ribs, and a collapsed lung. SCOTT and SANTIAGO were also convicted of conspiring to violate Moore’s civil rights, as well as falsifying and conspiring to falsify Department of Correction records concerning the assault. SCOTT and SANTIAGO were taken into custody immediately after sentencing.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Kathy Scott and George Santiago participated in a vicious beating of inmate Kevin Moore within an inch of his life. Then they concocted a phony story to hide what they did, repeatedly lying in Department of Correction records and even creating a fake injury. The U.S. Constitution protects all of us, including those in prison. Correction officers who physically abuse inmates and lie about it will be punished as criminals. Today, Scott and Santiago were held accountable for their crimes.”
According to the evidence introduced at trial:
On November 12, 2013, Kevin Moore, then 54 years old, was brought to the 1D Housing Unit at Downstate Correctional Facility to be housed overnight. Moore objected to his cell assignment and a verbal dispute ensued between Moore and a group of correction officers. After Moore yelled, in sum and substance, “I’m a monster,” multiple officers, including SANTIAGO, forced Moore to the floor, restrained him, and then proceeded to assault Moore as he lay there, repeatedly punching and kicking Moore in the head and body. At no time did Moore ever try to attack, touch, or even make a threatening gesture toward any of the officers. While Moore lay defenseless on the floor, SANTIAGO, who was wearing boots, cocked back his leg and delivered a soccer-style kick to Moore’s face. SANTIAGO also continued to strike Moore after Moore was handcuffed. During the beating, SANTIAGO laughed and taunted Moore, yelling “Who’s the monster now.”
SCOTT, who was then a sergeant and the supervising officer on the scene, was present for the entire beating and was required to stop the excessive force being used by her subordinates. Instead of taking action to stop the unlawful violence, SCOTT encouraged it, ordering an officer to hold Moore down on the floor while other officers continued to kick and punch him. During the beating, Moore repeatedly cried out in pain and begged SCOTT and the other officers to stop hurting him.
Immediately after the beating, SANTIAGO and other officers, led by SCOTT, engaged in an elaborate cover-up of the crime they had committed. They made up a false cover story that Moore had attacked one of the officers and that another officer had to strike Moore once in the head to save his fellow officer. To make this lie believable, the officers claimed that Moore had injured the officer’s back by pushing the officer backward onto a table. But because nothing of the sort had occurred, they created a phony injury. Specifically, SANTIAGO hit one of the other officers repeatedly on the back with a baton and SCOTT photographed the fake injury. SCOTT then prepared a false Use of Force Report describing the incident and incorporating the photos and false statements from herself and other officers, including SANTIAGO, and submitted the false report to her superiors. SCOTT and SANTIAGO also repeatedly pressured other officers to lie to investigators about what had occurred.
Moore was severely injured, suffering multiple facial fractures, five broken ribs, and a collapsed lung, among other injuries. According to the medical evidence, Moore received at least four forceful blows to the face and torso, including one crushing strike to the right eye that was consistent with a kick from a boot.
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SCOTT, 44, of Saugerties, New York, was sentenced to 100 months in prison and one year of supervised release. SANTIAGO, 36, of Fremont Center, New York, was sentenced to 87 months in prison and one year supervised release.
Three other former Downstate correction officers pled guilty to the same offenses in connection with the beating and cover-up. Andrew Lowery pled guilty on July 27, 2016, Donald Cosman pled guilty on August 31, 2016, and Carson Morris pled guilty on November 1, 2017. Lowery and Morris are scheduled to be sentenced on July 25, 2018, and September 14, 2018, respectively. The sentencing of Cosman has not yet been scheduled.
Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Agents at the United States Attorney’s Office. Mr. Berman also thanked the New York State Department of Correction Office of Special Investigation, and the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit and the White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Dember and Pierre Armand are in charge of the prosecution.