Two L.A. Deputies|Sentenced to Prison


LOS ANGELES (CN) — Two Los Angeles sheriff’s officers who lied about beating an inmate while he was handcuffed were sentenced Monday to more than a year in prison.
     Joey Aguiar, 28, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and Mariano Ramirez, 40, to 13 months, for falsifying reports with the intent to obstruct justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     The jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction on a charge of conspiracy to violate the inmate’s civil rights. The deputies were nabbed after a jail chaplain, Paulino Juarez, who saw the attack, went to the ACLU after repeatedly being “rebuffed” by senior L.A. Sheriff’s Department officials, the U.S. attorney said in a statement. The ACLU reported it to the FBI.
     U.S. District Judge Beverly Reid-O’Connell found that the victim, Bret Phillips, now 44, “was struck, kicked, repeatedly hit by a flashlight, and pepper-sprayed, while he was on the ground,” the U.S. attorney said.
     Aguiar falsified a report by saying Phillips had tried to head-butt and kick him.
     “Mr. Phillips did neither, according to testimony presented at the trial,” the U.S. attorney said in the statement. “It was undisputed that Mr. Phillips was waist-chained with handcuffs binding his hands to a chain around his stomach throughout the entire beating.”
     Another witness, an inmate, “testified that he hid in the shower to avoid being seen by LASD personnel as he watched the deputies beat a defenseless and unmoving inmate,” the prosecutor said. The judge said she believed both witnesses to the beating, which happened at the Men’s Central Jail on Feb. 11, 2009.

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