Ex-Guards Plead Not Guilty To Big Island Jail Assault

Jul 3, 2020

HILO — Three former Big Island jail guards pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting an inmate and lying about it, Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Thursday.

A federal indictment accuses Jason Tagaloa, 29, Craig Pinkney, 36, Jonathan Taum, 48 and an unnamed guard of beating and kicking Chawn Kaili in a recreation yard at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in 2015. The newspaper did not report whether lawyers commented on behalf of the three men.

A portion of the alleged rec yard assault was caught on surveillance video, the newspaper reported.

Tagaloa allegedly beat Kaili again in a holding cell, prosecutors said.

Kaili filed a civil suit in state court in 2017, alleging he was left with a broken jaw and other injuries from the attack and that he was denied immediate medical treatment.

His lawsuit said the guard called themselves the “Alpha Dawgs.”

Bond for Tagaloa, Pinkney and Taum was set at $25,000 each. Trial is scheduled for Aug. 31.

“Those committed to the custody of our state and federal detention facilities do not jettison their constitutional rights when they pass through the doors to those facilities," U.S. Attorney for Hawaii Kenji Price said in a statement announcing the indictment. “They are entitled to humane treatment, which includes constitutional safeguards, such as the right to be free of ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment while in custody.”