Three Former Hilo Correctional Officers Indicted for Assaulting an Inmate and Attempting to Cover it Up
(STL.News) – A federal grand jury in Honolulu, Hawaii, returned a six-count indictment against three former correctional officers — Jason Tagaloa, 29, Craig Pinkney, 36, and Jonathan Taum, 48 — for their roles in assaulting an inmate housed at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center and for attempting to cover up their misconduct.
The indictment from June 25, was announced Tuesday by U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price for the District of Hawaii, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and FBI Honolulu Special Agent in Charge Eli S. Miranda.
The indictment alleges that, on June 15, 2015, defendants Tagaloa, Pinkney, and Taum, along with a fourth correctional officer designated “Officer A,” physically assaulted an inmate in the jail’s recreation yard, that Tagaloa later assaulted the same inmate in a holding cell, and that both assaults resulted in bodily injury. The indictment further alleges that the defendants and Officer A conspired to cover up their misconduct by engaging in a variety of obstructive acts, including devising a false cover story to justify their use of force, documenting that false cover story in official reports, and repeating that false cover story when questioned during the ensuing investigation and disciplinary proceedings arising out of the assault.
The maximum penalties for the charged crimes are 10 years of imprisonment for each of the deprivation-of-rights offenses, 20 years of imprisonment for each of the false report offenses, and 5 years of imprisonment for the conspiracy offense.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Nolan of the District of Hawaii is prosecuting the case in partnership with Special Litigation Counsel Christopher J. Perras and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson of the Civil Rights Division.