3 fired Hawaii correctional officers convicted of brutally attacking inmate

The 2015 beating inside the Hawaii Community Correctional Center was caught on video.
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 11:30 AM HST|Updated: Jul. 11, 2022 at 5:00 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three former Hawaii correctional officers have been convicted of civil rights crimes after brutally attacking an inmate and then trying to cover it up.

The 2015 beating inside the Hawaii Community Correctional Center was caught on video.

Adult corrections officers can be seen hitting and kicking inmate Chawn Kaili 45 times over two minutes. He was left lying in a pool of his own blood, and ended up with a broken nose, jaw and eye socket.

Late Friday afternoon, a federal jury handed down the conviction HCCC officers Jason Tagaloa, Craig Pinkney and Jonathan Taum. A fourth officer, Jordan DeMattos, previously pleaded guilty and testified against the others.

An FBI investigation found the officers assaulted the inmate in the prison’s recreation yard.

Evidence from the trial also revealed that the officers then wrote false reports about the incident.

The officers “met to get their stories straight and brainstorm false excuses they would give for having used force,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Hawaii Department of Public Safety fired all four officers.

In a statement, Public Safety Director Max Otani said: “Justice has been served as those involved were held accountable. The department will not tolerate this type of behavior from any employee.”

The American Civil Liberties Union Hawaii said inmate attacks are rarely reported.

“Happens more often than we know,” said Carrie Ann Shirota, ACLU Hawaii policy director. “People are afraid, they fear retaliation.”

She added inmates believe reporting violence will prevent them from getting to the next step, probation or parole.

The corrections officers convicted in the case face up to 20 years behind bars for the offenses.

“The FBI will always investigate when a person’s civil rights are violated,” said Honolulu FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “As correctional officers, they were held to upholding the standards of law enforcement officers within the state prisons and they did not do so in this case.”

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