POMONA (CBSLA) — Three officers with the Pomona Police Department were indicted Thursday for alleged civil rights violations that occurred during the arrest of a teenage boy at the Los Angeles County Fair two years ago, as well as an alleged cover-up by the senior officer.
Sgt. Michael Neaderbaomer, Officer Chad Jensen and Officer Prince Hutchinson pleaded not guilty to multiple counts, including use of force, witness tampering, and falsifying records, all stemming from the September 16, 2015 incident, during which the two officers beat then-16-year-old Christian Aguilar.
The officers allegedly wrote a false police report to "justify the use of force" against Aguilar, who was not named in the federal indictment. The report claims the teen came within arm's length of another officer who was arresting a suspect and then attempted to punch Jensen in the face, while trying to "incite unrest."
According to the indictment, Neaderbaomer, an Internal Affairs sergeant, subsequently tried to "intimidate and corruptly persuade" Aguilar and his parents to not file a complaint against the department, telling them that the PPD had video of the teen attacking the officers.
He also falsely stated to the Aguilar's mother that the parents could not be present during the department's interview of the teen.
Neaderbaomer is additionally charged with lying to federal agents investigating the claims against Officer Jensen.
With tears in his eye, Christian's father Ignacio told CBS2 News the video of his son getting assaulted by police is still watch two years after the fact.
"It's heartbreaking to see your kid suffer like that," said Aguilar. "And then to know that these guys swore an oath are (are) deliberately lying to cover it up."
"If convicted, the charges of excessive force carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, the charges of witness tampering and falsifying records carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and the charges of false statements to federal agents carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison," the indictment reads.
The City of Pomona paid Aguilar $500,000 to settle a civil lawsuit.
"I'm glad the FBI flashed their light down our road to brighten it up," Ignacio Aguilar said.
Pomona PD said the officers in question are on administrative leave.
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