In November 2021, the US Attorney announced the formation of a new Civil Rights unit within the Office’s Criminal Division to use the criminal laws to protect civil rights, including in the following prosecutions:
- Prosecution of Staten Island Man for Conspiracy to Commit Antisemitic Hate Crimes: In June 2022, the Office charged Saadah Masoud with federal hate crime and conspiracy offenses in connection with his assaults of three Jewish individuals in New York City in 2021 and 2022. Masoud’s victims included a man who was wearing an Israeli flag, a man wearing clothing traditionally associated with the Jewish religion, including a yarmulke, and a man wearing a Star of David necklace. Masoud pled guilty to conspiring to commit a federal hate crime and was sentenced on March 3, 2023, to 18 months in prison.
- Prosecution of Two Green Haven Prison Correction Officers: In December 2022, the Office charged Taj Everly, a former correction officer at Green Haven Correctional Facility, and Rosita Rossy, a former sergeant at the same facility, in connection with Everly’s May 28, 2020, assault of an inmate at Green Haven. At the time of the assault, Everly punched, tackled, and kneeled on the back of the victim, who was walking by as he returned to the cellblock after lunch. Everly was charged with committing the assault under color of law, and both Everly and Rossy were charged with falsifying reports relating to the assault. Rossy was also charged with directing other correction officers at Green Haven who were present at the time of the assault to falsify their reports. Everly pled guilty to depriving the victim of his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. On September 27, 2023, Everly was sentenced to three months in prison. Charges against Rossy remain pending.
- Green Haven Prison Correction Officer Convicted of Civil Rights Offense: In November 2021, the Office charged Aaron Finn, a former correction officer at Green Haven Correctional Facility in connection with Finn’s March 19, 2020, assault of an inmate at Green Haven. During the assault, Finn used his body to press a handcuffed inmate face-first against a wall and then repeatedly struck the back of the inmate’s head, causing the inmate’s head to hit a cinder block wall. Finn then repeatedly thrashed the inmate’s head against steel cell bars. In July 2022, Finn pled guilty to violating the constitutional rights of the victim to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. On November 2, 2022, Finn was sentenced to three months in prison.
- Mount Vernon Police Department Sergeant Charged With Civil Rights Offense: In July 2023, the Office charged Mario Stewart, a Sergeant with the Mount Vernon Police Department (“MVPD”), with violating the constitutional rights of an individual in emotional distress by using excessive force. During a call for assistance, Stewart, in the presence of six other MVPD officers, tased the victim seven times in the span of approximately two minutes. For the duration of all seven taser deployments, the victim lay on the ground, handcuffed with his hands behind his back and his legs secured in a restraint bag. The case is currently pending.
- Prosecution of Armed Security Guard at 26 Federal Plaza for Forced Sexual Assault: In May 2023, the Office charged Jimmy Solano-Arias, a former armed security guard at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building located at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan, with violating the constitutional rights of an asylum seeker by forcing the victim, through the threat of death or serious bodily injury, to perform oral sex on Solano-Arias while inside a locked office in 26 Federal Plaza. The case is currently pending.
- Kuwaiti Diplomat and Wife Charged With Forced Labor of Domestic Workers: In October 2022, Barrak Abdulmohsen Alhunaif, a former diplomatic attaché assigned to the Permanent Mission of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations in New York, and his wife, Khaledah Saad Aldhubaibi, were charged with forced labor, visa fraud, fraud in foreign labor contracting, and conspiracy to commit visa fraud and fraud in foreign labor contracting, in connection with their hiring and subsequent abuse of three domestic workers from India and the Philippines. Alhunaif and Aldhubaibi remain at large, and the charges remain pending.