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Sheriff: Officers arrested, accused of jail assault

By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas - Two El Paso County Sheriff's Office detention officers were fired and arrested following accusations they assaulted an inmate in their custody at the jail annex, officials said.

Sheriff's Richard Wiles said in a news conference Friday that Fernando Robles, a 12 year veteran and Rolando Castro, a five year veteran, were booked into the county jail, and extra safety precautions at the jail will be taken for the two former officers.

"This is something we cannot tolerate. We have to send a message," said Wiles.

According the arrest affidavit, the two officers were accused of falling asleep while on duty and inmates were laughing about it. The officers then took an inmate out of the jail cell and into an attorney's booth where the inmate claims the officers assaulted him.

The inmate claimed the officers pushed him up against a wall and punched his legs and back. The inmate said this was repeated twice before he was put back in his cell.

According the arrest affidavit, the inmate had injuries to his back, ribs, elbows and neck areas. The injuries were considered minor.

"That is clearly brutality," said Wiles.

Wiles said after a shift change, the inmate reported his injuries to the detention officers and told them the officers of the previous shift had given him those injuries. Wiles said those detention officers immediately took the proper action and an investigation began.

"Their termination was actually based off of the act plus lying under oath. Because I believe based on upon the evidence in front of me, I believe they lied in their statement when they said they didn't do it," said Wiles.
 
The two former employees face charges of official oppression, a misdemeanor which carries the possibility of a year in jail.

Friday, the former jailers became inmates themselves when they were booked into the EL Paso County Jail on a $500 bond.

Wiles said they take extra safety precautions whenever someone in law enforcement ends up in jail.
 
"We would protect them like we would protect any other inmate, and like that inmate should have been protected. How ironic, isn't it?" said Wiles.
 
According to the Internal Affairs report, Robles, the 12 year veteran, had two previous suspensions for family violence.
 
Wiles said he does not want the actions of two officers to reflect poorly on the agency as a whole.
 
"This is an embarrassment to the agency. We have very high standards for our employees. Our detention officer's main job is the protection and safety of the inmates in our charge. We take that seriously. We have about 670 detention officers who work for this agency who come to work every day and do the right thing," said Wiles.
 
Due to the criminal charges it is possible the two men could lose their licenses as a peace officers.

"We have to take strong action to ensure that the public has confidence in our ability to do our job,"said Wiles.

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