Two corrections officers working in a Hudson Valley prison have been convicted for their roles in the beating of a defenseless inmate following a verbal altercation.
Joon Kim, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District announced on Tuesday that Kathy Scott, 43, and George Santiago, Jr., 35, both now former New York State Correction Officers, have been convicted in the 2013 beating of Kevin Moore, an inmate temporarily housed at the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, then attempting an elaborate scheme to cover it up.
According to evidence introduced at the trial, on Nov. 13, 2013, Moore, 54 at the time of his death, was brought to the facility to be housed overnight. He allegedly objected to his cell assignment and a verbal dispute broke out between Moore and several correction officers, which turned violent.
Kim said that Moore shouted, “I’m a monster” and multiple officers, including Santiago, forced him to the floor, held him to the ground and assaulted him, punching and kicking him in the head and body. Kim noted that “at no time did Moore ever try to attack, touch or even make threatening gestures toward any of the officers.”
“While Moore lay defenseless on the floor, Santiago cocked back his leg and kicked Moore in the face,” Kim said. “During the beating, Santiago laughed and taunted Moore, shouting, ‘who’s the monster now?”
At the time of the assault, Scott was a sergeant and the supervising officer on scene. She was present for the entire attack, Kim said, and never attempted to stop the beating, instead encouraging it, “ordering an officer to hold Moore down on the floor while another kicked and punched him.” Kim said that during the beating, Moore “repeatedly cried out in pain and begged Scott and the other officers to stop.”
Moore suffered multiple facial fractures, broken ribs and a collapsed lung from the beating. According to medical officials who treated him, he suffered at least four forceful blows to the face and torso, including one strike to the right eye that is consistent with a kick from a boot.
Following the beating, Kim said that Santiago and other officers, at the behest of Scott, attempted to create a false cover story that Moore had attacked an officer, prompting retaliation. In an effort to make that story more believable, they claimed Moore had injured the officer’s back by pushing him backward onto a table, yet because no such incident occurred, they had to create a fake injury.
Kim said that Santiago hit one of the other officers on the back repeatedly with a baton, and Scott photographed the phony injury. Scott then prepared a false “use of force report” of the incident, using the photos and falsified statements from other officers to make it more believable before submitting the report. The U.S. Attorney said that Scott and Santiago also pressured other officers into lying about the incident.
Scott and Santiago were each convicted of individual counts of deprivation of rights under the color of law, conspiracy to deprive civil rights, falsifying documents and conspiracy to falsify documents. They are scheduled to be sentenced in April next year, when they will face decades in prison.
Three other former Downstate Correctional Facility officers pleaded guilty to the same charges in prior trials.
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