SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Feb. 25) - Police operatives arrested four corrections officers at the Division of Corrections facility in Susupe for allegedly beating up several inmates on separate occasions since December of last year

The Saipan Tribune yesterday contacted Department of Public Safety commissioner Edward Camacho regarding the charges and its implication on the department, but he reserved his official comments for today. "I’m still reviewing the charges," he said.

Arrested were Stanley Kintaro Patris, Anthony Leon Guerrero Cruz, Nick Masga Reyes and Felix Jonathan Maratita Camacho.

Police detective Jesus S. Cepeda said the officers’ firearms were also confiscated. The four officers were arrested by virtue of warrants issued by the Superior Court.

Of the four accused, only Patris and Cruz appeared in a scheduled bail hearing yesterday at the courtroom of Associate Judge David Wiseman. The two’s lawyers—Joey Arriola and Edward Arriola—entered for them a plea of not guilty to a charge of assault and battery.

Camacho and Reyes did not appear in court yesterday, although it was not clear if the two had already posted bail. Wiseman singly allowed Patris and Cruz to post only 10 percent of the $5,000-bail, or $500 each. The two officers were clad in bright orange prison attires.

Joey Arriola initially asked the court that Patris be released on an unsecured bond, citing the officer’s several years in service. Edward Arriola, meanwhile, asked the court to rule that the 10 percent bail for Cruz be based on a $1,000-bail that he claimed to be the maximum for the offense—or just $100. But Wiseman ruled in favor of the prosecution’s recommendation regarding bail for both Patris and Cruz.

Kevin Lynch, the Attorney General’s Office’s Criminal Division chief, said some of the inmates who were victimized by corrections officers first aired their grievances to DOC authorities. The department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau then entered into the picture.

Lynch filed four separate criminal cases in court against the corrections officers. The prosecutor slapped a count of assault and battery on each of them, except for Camacho, who was charged with three counts of the offense. Records show that Camacho was the youngest among the accused at age 21.

In one of the four criminal cases, Lynch charged Camacho with two counts of assault and battery. The prosecutor charged Cruz in one of the counts with Camacho. The two allegedly assaulted inmate Jesse Saralu last December 28, 2002. Camacho also allegedly attacked another inmate, Ronald Kaipat.

Lynch said Camacho was involved in a similar incident last January 7, when he allegedly assaulted inmate Lorenzo Ayuyu. Lynch filed a separate criminal case against Camacho for the incident.

On February 14 to 15, Reyes allegedly beat up inmate Billy Joe Cabrera Cruz. Patris, meanwhile, allegedly victimized Juan Celis Cabrera, who just being booked for an offense. Lynch charged Reyes and Patris in separate criminal cases.

The court scheduled preliminary hearing of the cases in March.

February 25, 2003

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