Former Supervisory Correctional Officer, Jonathan Taum, age 50, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in the assault of an inmate and his involvement in a conspiracy to cover up the abuse. Taum, who previously worked at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center, supervised his co-defendants and another correctional officer as they transported an inmate. During the transfer, the inmate became frightened, leading Taum’s fellow officers to physically assault him, causing severe injuries. Following the assault, Taum orchestrated a cover-up conspiracy that involved writing false reports, submitting false statements, and providing false testimony. This case highlights the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect the civil rights of all individuals and hold those who violate those rights accountable.
Assault on Inmate by Former Supervisory Correctional Officer
In a recent case that has shocked the community, a former supervisory correctional officer at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center, Jonathan Taum, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in the brutal assault of an inmate. The assault took place on June 15, 2015, when Taum supervised his two co-Defendants and another correctional officer during the transfer of an inmate across the facility. The inmate, who was non-violent, became frightened during the transfer, which led to a violent attack by Taum’s fellow officers. The inmate suffered severe injuries, including a broken jaw, orbital socket, and nose, as a result of the assault.
Sentencing: 12 Years in Prison
United States District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi handed down the sentence on November 16, 2022. Taum was sentenced to three concurrent terms of imprisonment, with the longest term being 144 months. This sentencing reflects the seriousness of the crimes committed and sends a strong message that such actions will not be tolerated within the correctional system.
Details of the Assault
Supervisory Officer Jonathan Taum’s Role
Jonathan Taum, as a supervisory correctional officer, played a significant role in the assault of the inmate. Despite being responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of the inmates under his supervision, Taum not only failed in his duty but actively participated in the violent attack. Witness testimony revealed that Taum verbally encouraged his fellow officers to continue assaulting the inmate, showing a complete disregard for the rights and dignity of the individual.
Abuse Cover-Up Conspiracy
In addition to his role in the assault, Taum also led a conspiracy to cover up the abuse. This involved writing false reports, submitting false statements to internal affairs, and providing false testimony to disciplinary board members. These actions prolonged the suffering of the victim and undermined the integrity of the correctional system. The comprehensive investigation into this case revealed the extent of the conspiracy and provided the basis for the subsequent legal action.
Consequences and Justification
Importance of Protecting Civil Rights
This case highlights the critical importance of protecting the civil rights of all individuals within our community, including those who are incarcerated. While inmates may have lost their freedom due to their actions, they remain entitled to be treated with basic human dignity and respect. The assault on the inmate by Jonathan Taum and his fellow officers violated these fundamental rights and warrants the full force of the criminal justice system.
Responsibility of Correctional Facility Supervisors
Supervisors within correctional facilities have a heightened responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of the inmates under their care. They hold positions of authority and trust, and it is their duty to set an example for their subordinates. The actions of Jonathan Taum in this case not only violated the rights of the inmate but also undermined the public’s trust in the correctional system. Holding supervisors accountable for their actions is essential to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of our correctional facilities.
Law Enforcement Response
Investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
The investigation into the assault and subsequent cover-up was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI, with its resources and expertise in handling complex criminal cases, played a critical role in bringing the truth to light and ensuring that justice was served. Their thorough investigation uncovered the extent of the conspiracy and provided the evidence necessary for successful prosecution.
Collaboration with U.S. Attorney’s Office and Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division
The investigation carried out by the FBI was closely coordinated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Assistant United States Attorney Craig Nolan, along with Special Litigation Counsel Chris Perras and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson, played vital roles in the prosecution of this case. Their expertise and dedication to upholding civil rights and ensuring accountability were instrumental in achieving a successful outcome.
Prosecution and Legal Handling
Assistant United States Attorney Craig Nolan
Assistant United States Attorney Craig Nolan, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, played a key role in prosecuting Jonathan Taum and his co-Defendants. Nolan’s extensive experience and commitment to justice were instrumental in presenting a strong case against the defendants. His efforts were integral in securing the conviction and subsequent sentencing of Taum.
Special Litigation Counsel Chris Perras and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson
Special Litigation Counsel Chris Perras and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division worked closely with Assistant United States Attorney Craig Nolan in prosecuting this case. Their collective expertise and dedication to upholding civil rights and combating abuse of power ensured a comprehensive and successful legal approach.
Quotes from Officials
Statement by United States Attorney Clare E. Connors
United States Attorney Clare E. Connors expressed the importance of protecting civil rights and holding correctional facility supervisors accountable for their actions. In a statement, Connors emphasized, “Protecting the civil rights of everyone in the community, including inmates, is at the heart of our system of justice… we will prosecute those who criminally violate the civil rights of those in their custody.” Connors’ statement reflects the commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to diligently pursue justice and seek accountability in cases involving civil rights violations.
Statement by FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill
FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill highlighted the FBI’s dedication to investigating and holding accountable individuals who violate the civil rights of inmates. Merrill stated, “This case highlights how the FBI will vigorously investigate and hold accountable any individual who violates the civil rights of an inmate… This case should deter others in a position of power from such behavior in the future.” Merrill’s statement underscores the FBI’s commitment to ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their incarcerated status, can exercise their protected liberties without fear of violence or abuse.
Two Maui Men Sentenced for Racially Motivated Attack on White Man
In a related case, two men from the Hawaiian island of Maui were sentenced for a racially motivated attack on a white man. The attack occurred when the victim, who was attempting to move, was subjected to violence due to his race. This case highlights the ongoing need to address hate crimes and protect individuals from all forms of discrimination and violence.
Two Maui Men Found Guilty of Hate Crimes for Racially Motivated Attack
In another related case, two individuals were found guilty of hate crimes for a racially motivated attack. The jury’s verdict affirmed that hate crimes are a serious offense and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This case serves as a reminder that acts of hate and discrimination have no place in our society.
Three Former Hawaii Correctional Officers Convicted of Civil Rights Violations
In a separate incident, three former Hawaii correctional officers were convicted of civil rights violations for assaulting an inmate and attempting to cover it up. This case underscores the importance of holding individuals accountable for their actions, regardless of their position or authority. The successful prosecution of these officers sends a clear message that abuse and violations of civil rights within correctional facilities will not be tolerated.
For any inquiries or further information about the case, Elliot Enoki can be contacted at Elliot.Enoki@usdoj.gov. The USAO-HI office and Victim Witness Assistance also provide support and resources for individuals affected by civil rights violations.
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