ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Three past and current corrections officers face federal charges in the beating of an inmate at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center.
A federal grand jury in Albuquerque handed up the seven-count indictment Wednesday charging the men with various crimes including the violation of civil rights related to the Dec. 21 incident.
Initially five corrections officers were arrested on state charges.
Demetrio Juan Gonzales, 39, and Kevin James Casaus, 23, are charged with depriving inmate Christopher Shields of his civil rights violating "under cover of law," that is while acting in their official positions as a law officers.
"Nobody should be treated with level of brutality that we allege," U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales said. "It certainly shouldn't be tolerated by someone who is charged to do a job which is really to protect the public and to protect the public they have custody of."
Shields had been arrested for aggravated DWI and was being book into the jail when he balked at having his mug shot photo taken, according to reports at the time.
Demetrio Gonzales kneed, hit and choked Shields without provocation or resistance in a shower area while Casaus shoved and struck him, according to the indictment.
Casaus and Matthew David Pendley, 25, also are charged with obstruction of justice. Casaus is alleged to have made false statements and falsified records in an attempt to mislead sheriff's investigators.
Pendley also is accused of making false statements plus tampering with evidence by cleaning up blood left by the attack.
None of the men has made a court appearance to plead to the charges.
Neither Gonzales nor Casaus is still employed by MDC. Pendley was place on administrative leave through July 3 after MDC administrators learned of the indictment.
A fourth guard, Manuel Marquez, was not named in the federal indictment because the U.S. Attorney said there was no evidence he participated in unlawful conduct, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
However, Marquez has been fired by MDC.
The civil rights violations carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Obstruction of justice also carries a $250,000 fine but a maximum 20-year prison term.
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