Criminal Justice News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Former Puerto Rico Police Officer Sentenced for Committing Perjury During Civil Rights Investigation

Former Police of Puerto Rico Sergeant Antonio Rodriguez Caraballo was sentenced today to serve 46 months in prison and three years supervised release for making a false statement under oath to the federal grand jury investigating civil rights violations stemming from the fatal beating of Jose Luis Irizarry Perez, 19, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-of the District of Puerto Rico and Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases of the FBI San Juan Field Office.

Rodriguez Caraballo pleaded guilty to perjury for providing false information to the grand jury concerning what he observed during the police-involved beating of Irizarry Perez.  One other former Puerto Rico police officer has already been sentenced for his obstructive conduct during the federal investigation into the incident, while four other former Puerto Rico police officers, who also pleaded guilty, are awaiting sentencing for their roles in the beating and subsequent obstruction of the investigation.  According to documents filed in connection with the guilty pleas, two former Puerto Rico police officers violated the constitutional rights of Irizarry Perez by striking him with their police batons while another former police officer physically restrained Irizarry Perez during an election evening celebration at the Las Colinas housing development in Yauco, Puerto Rico, on Nov. 5, 2008.  

U.S. District Court Judge Juan M. Perez Gimenez issued the sentence, which will be followed by three years of supervised release.  During the three-year term, the defendant will be under federal supervision, and risks additional prison time should he violate any terms of his supervised release.

“The department will not tolerate those who violate the sanctity of the grand jury by lying under oath,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Gupta.  “Such conduct is especially egregious in the case at hand, where a sworn law enforcement officer attempted to cover up an assault by police officers by misleading the grand jury.”

“When those who are sworn to uphold the law and protect others choose to abuse their power and position, they undermine the public’s confidence in the justice system and our government institutions,” said U.S. Attorney Rodriguez-VĂ©lez.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice are committed to promoting trust in our system of justice by vigorously prosecuting those who obstruct justice.”

This case was investigated by the FBI’s San Juan Division and is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan and Trial Attorneys Shan Patel and Olimpia E. Michel of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose A. Contreras of the District of Puerto Rico.

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