On Thursday, June 30, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging Emilio Rodríguez-Arroyo with deprivation of rights under color of law and obstruction of justice. Today, the defendant was arrested on these charges and taken into federal custody.
According to court documents, Emilio Rodríguez-Arroyo, a correctional officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, used excessive force against an inmate while the inmate was handcuffed behind his back and not resisting, resulting in bodily injury.
On Nov. 8, 2021, Rodríguez-Arroyo deprived victim E.R.R. of the Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The indictment alleges that the defendant struck E.R.R. in the head and face area while E.R.R. was handcuffed behind his back, not resisting and in the control of other officers. After the incident, Rodríguez-Arroyo knowingly misled a senior Bureau of Prisons (BOP) official about the incident.
The defendant made his initial court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Giselle López-Soler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the civil rights violation count, and a maximum penalty of 20 years for the obstruction of justice count.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the District of Puerto Rico, Special Agent in Charge Joseph González of the FBI San Juan Field Office and Special Agent in Charge James F. Boyersmith of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Miami Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI and the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Alum for the District of Puerto Rico and Trial Attorney Eric Peffley of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.