Three New York State corrections officers were arrested Wednesday and charged with criminal civil rights and obstruction violations in a 2013 attack that left an inmate with broken bones and a collapsed lung.
An indictment against the officers ― George Santiago, Kathy Scott and Carson Morris ― paints a horrifying picture of abuse against the victim, Kevin Moore, on Nov. 12 of that year at Downstate Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
After Moore and another inmate objected to being thrown in a small cell “designed for inmates with mental health issues,” the officers allegedly punched him and beat him with a baton repeatedly, the indictment stated. Though Moore was “defenseless” and crying out in pain, Santiago allegedly “reared back and kicked Moore in the face, and then laughed.”
The attack continued. Moore’s pants fell down, and he was kicked and punched in the groin. As Moore was lying in a pool of his own blood, Santiago allegedly ripped out the inmate’s dreadlocks “as a souvenir for his motorcycle,” the indictment said. Moore was hospitalized for 17 days.
To cover their tracks, Santiago smacked one of the officers with a baton, and all five allegedly agreed to frame Moore for the attack. Two other officers ― Andrew Lowery and Donald Cosman ― have already pleaded guilty to similar charges of beating Moore and trying to cover the crime up.
The investigation was initially coordinated by the state Corrections Department’s internal affairs unit, which used to be made up of corrections officers who often didn’t want to point fingers at their colleagues, according to The New York Times. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reorganized the unit and hired dozens of federal investigators, who then charged the Downstate officers.
The state jail system is under fire for similar incidents across New York. In another case last year, an inmate at Fishkill Correctional Facility was killed after he was rushed by 20 guards ― known as the facility’s “Beat Up Squad” ― who repeatedly kicked and punched him, then tossed him down a staircase. That incident is being investigated as a homicide.
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