Former Correctional Officer Convicted of Abusing Hawaii Inmate and Leader of Conspiracy to Cover Up Caning | GRANDPA

A former correctional officer at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center has been sentenced to 144 months in prison for his role in the assault on an inmate and his leadership of a multi-year conspiracy to cover up the abuse.

“The defendant had a non-violent inmate in his care and custody, and he abused both the inmate and the Constitution by allowing low-level officials to commit an unwarranted assault,” said Deputy Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division Ministry of Justice . “His subsequent decision to stage a multi-year cover-up is an affront to the principles of honesty and integrity that our society expects of law enforcement. His ruling makes it clear that no one is above the law and that officials are held accountable when they violate the civil rights of those under their supervision – through violence or obstruction.”

According to court documents and evidence presented at the hearing, on June 15, 2015, Jonathan Taum, 50, supervised his two co-defendants and a third correctional officer while they transported an inmate through the facility. The inmate became frightened as the transfer progressed, and Taum’s colleagues brought the nonviolent inmate to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked him in the face, head, and body. As the other officers beat the inmate, Taum verbally encouraged them to continue. The occupant’s jaw, eye socket and nose were broken in the course of the attack. In the months and years that followed, Taum led officers into a cover-up conspiracy that included writing false reports, filing false statements on internal affairs, and making false statements to Disciplinary Committee members.

“Protecting the civil rights of everyone in the community, including inmates, is at the heart of our legal system,” said US Attorney Clare E. Connors for the District of Hawaii. “Wardens in our correctional facilities are held to a higher standard of responsibility, and as this case demonstrates, we will prosecute those who criminally violate the civil rights of those in their care.”

“This case demonstrates the FBI’s vigorous investigation and accountability of anyone who violates an inmate’s civil rights,” said Special Agent Steven Merrill, Special Agent in Charge at the FBI’s Honolulu Field Office. “We are committed to ensuring that every citizen – whether free or incarcerated – can exercise their protected freedoms without fear of violence. This case should discourage others in positions of power from such behavior in the future.”

This was announced by Deputy Attorney General Clarke, US Attorney Connors and the responsible Special Agent Merrill.

The FBI field office in Honolulu was investigating the case.

Assistant US Attorney Craig Nolan for the District of Hawaii, Special Trial Attorney Chris Perras, and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson of the Criminal Division of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.