On October 15, 2012, the Department of Justice announced that Puerto Rico Lieutenant Erick Rivera Nazario and Officer Jimmy Rodriguez Vegas were charged for violating civil rights after using excessive force on two men. Rivera was also charged with perjury for making false statements in an investigation into the civil rights violations.
According to court documents, Rivera and Rodriguez violated the rights of the victims, Jose Irizarry Perez, and his father, Jose Irizarry Muniz, as they were celebrating election results. The two officers are charged with beating the two men with police batons at the Las Colinas housing development in Yauco, Puerto Rico, on November 5, 2008.
Rivera was a sergeant at the time and is charged with failing to stop harm to the victims by Rodriguez. Rivera was supposed to supervise Rodriquez because of his ranking, but Rodriquez further assaulted the victims.
When an investigation was launched for the assaults, Rivera was made to testify before a federal grand jury. He was charged with perjury after he lied about his actions and observation on the day of the crimes.
Irizarry Perez died because of his injuries on November 5, 2008, but the indictment does not contain charges for his death.
Rivera faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for each of the four counts of civil rights violations. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for making false statements to the federal grand jury.
Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for each count of civil rights violations.
The San Juan Division of the FBI is investigating the case, and the investigation is still occurring.
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation