LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs – A federal grand jury in Los Angeles today indicted two former correctional officers at Chino State Prison on civil rights and obstruction of justice charges related to a 2002 incident in which shackled inmates were allegedly hurled to the ground.
Robert McGowan, 37, of Apple Valley, and Thomas Ramos, 50, of Montclair, were named in a three-count indictment returned this afternoon by the grand jury. The indictment specifically charges McGowan with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law for allegedly assaulting two inmates. Ramos is charged with one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly giving his supervisor a bogus report about the incident.
The incident that prompted the indictment took place on May 9, 2002, following an altercation involving inmates and correctional officers at the Chino prison. Once the altercation was controlled, several prisoners were shackled, placed in a van and transported to the administrative segregation unit at the prison facility. Once the van arrived at the special unit, McGowan is accused of pulling two prisoners from the van and letting them fall to the ground. Because they were shackled, the prisoners were not able to break their falls. They each sustained minor injuries.
Two weeks after the incident, Ramos allegedly submitted a memorandum to his superior in which he stated that an inmate allegedly assaulted by McGowan had slipped, when in fact Ramos had been told that McGowan had assaulted in inmate.
Both defendants will be summoned to appear for arraignments in United States District Court in Los Angeles in March. If convicted of the charges in the indictment, McGowan faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, and Ramos could be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
The case against McGowan and Ramos was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Tammy C. Spertus
Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence S. Middleton
Release No. 07-025