The FBI arrested three New York state corrections officers after a grand jury indicted the trio following an investigation that revealed the officers at the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, New York, beat an inmate and then tried to cover it up by claiming they were attacked.
According to the indictment, on the evening of November 12th, 2013, prisoner Kevin Moore was transferred to the facility to be held for one night before being sent to Rikers Island, in New York City. On arriving at Downstate, however, Moore was beaten by three correctional officers, who left him with five fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, a variety of other injuries, and ultimately left him missing a chunk of his hair, which one of the officers took home as a “trophy,” and intended to attach to their motorcycle.
Moore was hospitalized for seventeen days as a result of the beating.
The corrections officers — Kathy Scott, George Santiago, and Carson Morris — are being charged with conspiracy and fraud after they attempted to duck blame for the beating by creating a half-baked cover story. According to the indictment, Moore had originally questioned why he was being kept in a mental health unit, and whether he was a “monster,” which precipitated the beating; when officer Santiago was kicking Moore in the face minutes later, he taunted him by asking “who’s a monster now?” After Moore’s pants fell down, several officers then punched him in the groin. Moore was then left in a pool of his own blood.
That’s when the cover-up began, prosecutors say. Sensing that they’d have to create some justification for the beating, the three officers indicted, as well as other CO’s involved, decided they would claim that Moore attacked them first. To fabricate some level of legitimacy for their story, Santiago hit another CO in the back of the head with his baton, and Scott photographed the injury, before filing an official report that said Moore attacked first.
At a press conference in downtown Manhattan this afternoon, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declared that “inmates may be walled off from the public, but they are not walled off from the Constitution.”
Last year, in nearby Fishkill Correctional Facility, the Times reported on a gang of correctional officers known as “the beat-up squad,” who beat an inmate to death in 2015. Bharara is currently investigating that death and cover-up as well.