Former Hilo Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty for Assaulting an Inmate and Conspiring with Other Officers to Cover it Up

A former correctional officer at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center pleaded guilty to three felony offenses yesterday for assaulting an inmate; for failing to protect the inmate from being assaulted by three other correctional officers; and for conspiring with those officers to cover it up.

Jordan DeMattos, 29, admitted during his plea hearing that he and fellow correctional officers pinned an inmate face-down on the ground, and then punched, kneed, and kicked the inmate in the face, head, and body dozens of times. DeMattos acknowledged that during much of the assault, the inmate was not resisting and the officers had no legitimate reason to use force against him. As a direct result of the assault, the inmate suffered a broken jaw, nose, and eye socket. DeMattos explained that he and the other officers conspired afterward to cover up the assault by engaging in a variety of obstructive acts, including devising a false cover story to explain and justify their use of excessive force, documenting that false cover story in official reports, and repeating that false cover story during the ensuing investigation and disciplinary proceedings arising out of the incident.

“This correctional officer’s actions go against every duty he swore to carry out when he took his badge,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division. “Civil rights violations are particularly egregious when they are carried out by someone whose duty is to protect. The Justice Department works hard to ensure that these perpetrators see justice for their crimes.”

“Together, a uniform, title, and authority to secure a state facility are not a license to victimize,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji Price for the District of Hawaii. “My office is committed to vindicating the rights of all citizens by enforcing the law — which includes holding those charged with safeguarding correctional facilities accountable for assaulting the inmates housed within them.”

“Correctional officers are given great power to enforce rules, keep order, and protect the inmates within their facilities. When Jordan DeMattos exploited these powers and violated the civil rights of an inmate he was charged to protect, he undermined the respect and reputation of all the officers who perform their duties lawfully and with dignity,” said Special Agent in Charge Eli S. Miranda. “The FBI takes allegation of civil rights violations seriously and will always bring to justice those who abuse their power and violate the constitution.”

DeMattos faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years of imprisonment for the assault offense, 20 years of imprisonment for the false report offense, and five years of imprisonment for the conspiracy offense.

The other three officers allegedly involved — Jason Tagaloa, Jonathan Taum, and Craig Pinkney — have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to begin trial on March 15, 2021.

The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Nolan of the District of Hawaii is prosecuting the case in partnership with Special Litigation Counsel Christopher J. Perras and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson of the Civil Rights Division.

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    What GAO Found Federal agencies continue to face software supply chain threats. In December 2020, the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an emergency directive requiring agencies to take action regarding a threat actor that had been observed leveraging a software supply chain compromise of a widely used enterprise network management software suite—SolarWinds Orion. Subsequently, the National Security Council staff formed a Cyber Unified Coordination Group to coordinate the government response to the cyberattack. The group took a number of steps, including gathering intelligence and developing tools and guidance, to help organizations identify and remove the threat. During the same month that the SolarWinds compromise was discovered, GAO reported that none of 23 civilian agencies had fully implemented selected foundational practices for managing information and communication technology (ICT) supply chain risks—known as supply chain risk management (SCRM) (see figure). Twenty-three Civilian Agencies' Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) Practices GAO stressed that, as a result of not fully implementing the foundational practices, the agencies were at a greater risk that malicious actors could exploit vulnerabilities in the ICT supply chain, causing disruptions to mission operations, harm to individuals, or theft of intellectual property. Accordingly, GAO recommended that each of the 23 agencies fully implement these foundational practices. In May 2021, GAO received updates from six of the 23 agencies regarding actions taken or planned to address its recommendations. However, none of the agencies had fully implemented the recommendations. Until they do so, agencies will be limited in their ability to effectively address supply chain risks across their organizations. Why GAO Did This Study Federal agencies rely extensively on ICT products and services (e.g., computing systems, software, and networks) to carry out their operations. However, agencies face numerous ICT supply chain risks, including threats posed by malicious actors who may exploit vulnerabilities in the supply chain and, thus, compromise the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an organization's systems and the information they contain. Recent events involving a software supply chain compromise of SolarWinds Orion, a network management software suite, and the shutdown of a major U.S. fuel pipeline due to a cyberattack highlight the significance of these threats. GAO was asked to testify on federal agencies' efforts to manage ICT supply chain risks. Specifically, GAO (1) describes the federal government's actions in response to the compromise of SolarWinds and (2) summarizes its prior report on the extent to which federal agencies implemented foundational ICT supply chain risk management practices. To do so, GAO reviewed its previously published reports and related information. GAO has ongoing work examining federal agencies' responses to SolarWinds and plans to issue a report on this in fall 2021.
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    In Crime News
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  • Telecommunications: FCC Should Enhance Performance Goals and Measures for Its Program to Support Broadband Service in High-Cost Areas
    In U.S GAO News
    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a program, known as the high-cost program, to promote broadband deployment in unserved areas. Although the performance goals for the high-cost program reflect principles in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, not all of the goals are expressed in a measurable or quantifiable manner and therefore do not align with leading practices. Furthermore, FCC's measures for its performance goals do not always align with leading practices, which call for measures to have linkage with the goal they measure and clarity, objectivity, and measurable targets, among other key attributes. For example, as shown below for two of FCC's five goals, GAO found that FCC's measures met most, but not all, of the key attributes. By establishing goals and measures that align with leading practices, FCC can improve the performance information it uses in its decision-making processes about how to allocate the program's finite resources. Leading practices also suggest that agencies publicly report on progress made toward performance goals. FCC does so, however, only in a limited fashion which may lead to stakeholder uncertainty about the program's effectiveness. Examples of FCC’s Performance Measures Compared with a Selection of Key Attributes of Successful Performance Measures According to stakeholders GAO interviewed, FCC faces three key challenges to accomplish its high-cost program performance goals: (1) accuracy of FCC's broadband deployment data, (2) broadband availability on tribal lands, and (3) maintaining existing fixed-voice infrastructure and attaining universal mobile service. For example, although FCC adopted a more precise method of collecting and verifying broadband availability data, stakeholders expressed concern the revised data would remain inaccurate if carriers continue to overstate broadband coverage for marketing and competitive reasons. Overstating coverage impairs FCC's efforts to promote universal voice and broadband since an area can become ineligible for high-cost support if a carrier reports that service already exists in that area. FCC has also taken actions to address the lack of broadband availability on tribal lands, such as making some spectrum available to tribes for wireless broadband in rural areas. However, tribal stakeholders told GAO that some tribes are unable to secure funding to deploy the infrastructure necessary to make use of spectrum for wireless broadband purposes. Millions of Americans do not have access to broadband. Within the Universal Service Fund, FCC's high-cost program provided about $5 billion in 2019 to telecommunications carriers to support broadband deployment in unserved areas where the cost to provide broadband service is high. In 2011, FCC established five performance goals and related measures for the high-cost program. GAO was asked to review the high-cost program's performance goals and measures. This report examines: (1) the extent to which the program's performance goals and measures align with leading practices to enable the effective use of performance information and (2) the key challenges selected stakeholders believe FCC faces in meeting the program's goals. GAO reviewed FCC's program goals and measures and assessed them against applicable criteria, including GAO's leading practices for successful performance measures. GAO interviewed FCC officials and representatives from industry, tribal carriers, consumer advocates, and other stakeholders, to obtain a variety of non-generalizable viewpoints. GAO is making four recommendations, including that FCC should ensure its high-cost program's performance goals and measures align with leading practices and publicly report on progress measured toward the goals. FCC concurred with all four recommendations. For more information, contact Andrew Von Ah at (202) 512-2834 or vonaha@gao.gov.
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