More corrections officers charged in beating of NJ women inmates
Another four correctional police officers are facing criminal charges stemming from a brutal overnight incident in January at the state’s women’s prison, in which a number of inmates were beaten as they were removed from their cells.
Senior correctional officers Jose Irizarry, Courey James, Gustavo Sarmiento Jr., and Tara Wallace are facing aggravated assault and official misconduct charges, in relation to what unfolded at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton on Jan. 12.
A total of eight corrections officers have now been charged in the ongoing investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office and the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from investigators with the state Department of Corrections.
Irizarry, 37, of Paterson, has been charged with two counts of official misconduct and one count of aggravated assault, all second-degree.
He was part of two cell extractions on women inmates within the same prison unit, according to a criminal complaint.
In the first, Irizarry was among a five-person team of officers after 1 a.m., that left one woman with a broken bone in an eye socket, investigators said.
Irizarry also was part of a separate team of officers, during which he forcibly used his shield upon a different inmate, who was not resisting, as she was punched in the head and neck area 28 times by Correctional Police Officer Luis Garcia, according to a criminal complaint.
That woman suffered a concussion and facial injuries.
Garcia was among the first three correctional officers arrested following the overnight violence, charged with aggravated assault, official misconduct and tampering with public records.
The other three officers charged Thursday — James, 31, of Piscataway; Sarmiento, 27, of Maywood; and Wallace, 35, of Somerset — each are charged with official misconduct and aggravated assault, both second-degree, for also being part of the five-person team just after 1 a.m. that left a woman with the eye socket injury,
James was the first officer into the cell and had a direct view of her being handcuffed by Wallace, as the inmate begged officers not to hurt her, according to separate criminal complaints.
None of the officers reported the unauthorized use of force, according to their separate complaints.
The other three correctional officers previously charged for cell removals and inmate beatings within the same overnight span are Sgts. Amir Bethea, Matthew Faschan and Anthony Valvan.