Feds say indicted VA police officer beat man with baton 45 times in 41 seconds
Stars and Stripes October 3, 2023
A Veterans Affairs Police Department officer is accused in a federal indictment of striking an already restrained man with a baton dozens of times at a California VA hospital, causing lacerations and bleeding.
Juan Anthony Carrillo, 45, faces charges of deprivation of rights under color of law resulting in bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon with the intent to do bodily harm.
The charges stem from his use of force Jan. 16, 2022, at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. Carrillo was indicted Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
He will be arraigned in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors say Carrillo hit a 34-year-old man, identified in the indictment as “R.V.,” who had been detained by another VA police officer at the hospital.
Carrillo hit R.V. 45 times in 41 seconds, the Justice Department said in a statement Friday.
At the time, the other officer was on top of R.V., whom they both outweighed by more than 50 pounds, the Justice Department statement said.
R.V. was bleeding and had lacerations on both legs because of the beating, according to the statement.
Carrillo also tried to justify his use of force by writing in a report that the victim “was violently kicking his legs and refusing to show his hands,” prosecutors said, calling his claims false and misleading.
The Department of Veterans Affairs employs a force of about 5,000 police officers at its health care facilities, a 2020 Government Accountability Office report estimated.
VA police officers did not track or record use of force incidents properly, and its records were either incomplete or inaccurate, making oversight limited, the GAO said.