Former corrections officers indicted for allegedly assaulting a Hilo inmate

Former corrections officers indicted for allegedly assaulting a Hilo inmate
The alleged assault was captured on surveillance camera. (Source: HI Public Safety)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An indictment by a federal grand jury has been unsealed in the case of three former corrections officers accused of assaulting an inmate, then trying to cover it up.

Prosecutors say in 2015, Jason Tagaloa, 29, Craig Pinkney, 36, and Jonathan Taum, 48, beat an inmate at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in the recreational yard.

Tagaloa is also accused of beating up that same inmate in a cell. Both assaults resulted in bodily injury, prosecutors said.

A fourth officer was allegedly involved, but unmentioned in the indictment.

Prosecutors say the former officers tried to cover up the beating by making a fake story to justify the use of force.

“Those committed to the custody of our state and federal detention facilities do not jettison their constitutional rights when they pass through the doors to those facilities. They are entitled to humane treatment, which includes constitutional safeguards, such as the right to be free of ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment while in custody,” U.S. Attorney Kenji Price said.

“Our communities entrust correctional officers to protect detention facilities and the inmates housed within them, and when such officers commit crimes within a detention facility, they will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Price added.

The three officers face charges of Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law, Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice and filing false reports.

Max sentences for the charges range from 5 years to 20 years for each count.

“The few who illegally manipulate others using their official capacity will be caught and tried like any other criminal. The FBI is committed to restoring trust in law enforcement by holding those who abuse their privileges and abandon their responsibilities accountable,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Miranda.

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