Jail guards convicted in inmate beating

January 24, 2008 1:04:58 PM PST
Four jail guards at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, were found guilty Thursday in connection with an inmate assault that was caught on video. A fifth guard was acquitted in the beating of inmate Kenneth Howard in the federal jail on April 11, 2006.

Former guards Glen Cummings and Jamie Torro were found guilty of a civil rights charge stemming from the assault of Howard. Both were also convicted of obstruction of justice during the investigation of the incident that followed.

Two other guards, Elizabeth Torres and Angel Perez, were also convicted of the obstruction count.

A fifth guard, Frank Maldonado, was acquitted of the two charges against him, obstruction of justice and being an accessory after the fact.

Torres and Perez were also acquitted of the accessory charge.

Federal prosecutors were seeking to have the bail of Cummings and Torro revoked because they stand convicted of a crime of violence. A hearing was scheduled for this afternoon.

During the trial, prosecutors showed a security video that they said showed excessive use of force by jail guards against Howard.

The tape depicts Howard, held on marriage fraud charges, being taken to a jail elevator, where prosecutors say he was assaulted.

The tape shows Cummings dropping a weapon known as a "pepper ball" gun and then rushing into the elevator, where he appeared to stomp something four times.

The video doesn't show Cummings' foot actually striking Howard, whose hands had been restrained earlier and was seen falling down in the elevator after being tripped by a different guard.

Cummings retired after he was indicted. Torres was fired. All of the other defendants had left their jobs.