9 On Your Side Crime Watch
Different hiring requirements for corrections officers who have no law enforcement power
Police: surveillance video shows corrections officers pummeling bystanders
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – The Tucson Police Department released surveillance video showing the brutal beat-down involving five off-duty Pima County corrections officers outside Tucson’s Buffet Bar.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has fired the five who each face two counts of aggravated assault: 30-year-old John Hyatt; 24-year-old Matthew Garcia; 25-year-old Anthony Bonfiglio; 23-year-old Angel Casteneda; and 26-year-old Steven Haglund.
According to TPD spokesperson Chris Widmer, Sgt. Yvonne Davis, 33, and corrections officer Mark Bret, 23, were also arrested; they are charged with 1st Degree hindering the prosecution – for lying to police and helping suspects escape.
Widmer said the attacks are unwarranted and unprovoked.
The disturbing video shows one of the individuals in the video strike in innocent bystander in the head. Widmer said moments later, the corrections officers attacks the victim and another man outside the bar, kicking and punching them relentlessly. The video also shows the group continuing to beat up victims in the parking lot. Police said they also attacked a father and a son living nearby who tried to intervene.
Since the attack, there has been confusion about whether the corrections officers are cops. However, the Sgt. Harold Janes stressed they are not sworn in and have no ability to enforce the law.
“Our corrections officers are actually hired to detain the arrestees in the jail. They have no law enforcement power whatsoever,” Janes said. “Their job is basically to make sure the bad guys are arrested and taken care of while they’re in jail and they don’t escape while they’re waiting to go to trial.”
Janes said it is tougher to become a police officer or deputy sheriff: more stringent physical standards, higher age requirements and a cleaner background.
“We have a lot of great people working for us who do a good job inside of work and outside of work and represent the Sheriff’s Department very well,” Janes added, adding that the attacks are an isolated incident.
Tucson Police said the investigation is ongoing, but detectives do not expect any more arrests.