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4 former HCCC correctional officers sentenced in beating of inmate

Four former correctional officers with the Hawaii Community Correctional Center have been sentenced for assaulting an inmate and conspiring to cover up the abuse for years.

The officers had been found guilty for a 2015 assault of an inmate, during which they had held down and beat the inmate, breaking his jaw, nose and orbital socket.

The youngest of the sentenced officers, 30-year-old Jordan DeMattos, pleaded guilty and testified against his co-defendants last summer.

The others were found guilty during a joint trial of violating an inmate’s rights by assaulting him and covering up the incident, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today. Court documents and trial evidence showed that, on June 15, 2015, the officers transported the inmate across the facility. The inmate became frightened during the transfer, and some of the officers brought the inmate to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked him in the face, head and body.

Jason Tagaloa, 31, delivered the most vicious punches and kicks to the victim’s head. Craig Pinkney, 39, struck the victim and held him down during Tagaloa’s assault.

Sgt. Jonathan Taum, 50, had supervised the beating and led the officers in covering up the assault, which included writing false reports, submitting false statements to internal affairs and providing false testimony to disciplinary board members.

Taum was sentenced to 12 years in prison, Tagaloa was sentenced to eight years, Pinkney was sentenced to five years and DeMattos was sentenced to one year and one day.

“Physical abuse and corruption by officials working inside jails and prisons is unacceptable, no matter where it occurs,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a statement. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute abusive officers to ensure that the civil rights of all people, including those in custody, are protected.”

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