Co-defendant testifies in trial of Corrections officer

DPS police director says Camacho used excessive force
Corrections Officer Ray Anthony M. Camacho walks outside the courtroom during a break Wednesday at his ongoing bench trial in the Superior Court. Camacho is on trial on charges that he beat up then-inmate Ryan Cavalear at the Department of Corrections on April 1, 2016. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Corrections Officer Ray Anthony M. Camacho walks outside the courtroom during a break Wednesday at his ongoing bench trial in the Superior Court. Camacho is on trial on charges that he beat up then-inmate Ryan Cavalear at the Department of Corrections on April 1, 2016. (Ferdie de la Torre)

A co-defendant testified yesterday for the government in the ongoing Superior Court bench trial of Corrections Officer Ray Anthony Maratita Camacho, who is facing charges for beating up an inmate at the Department of Corrections.

Corrections Officer Admisen Dasio Haddy, who entered a plea deal with the government, testified that Camacho twice slapped the face of inmate Ryan Cavalear as they were trying to take Cavalear out from his cell on April 1, 2016.

Haddy said Camacho later asked him if he saw him slapping Cavalear’s face. Haddy said he replied “no” because he does not want to betray Camacho.

Haddy said prior to that, Cavalear was calling for his medication as he was in pain on the intercom and his voice was loud over the speaker.

He said Camacho and two other Corrections officers proceeded to Cavalear’s cell.

Haddy said Camacho was upset and was later exchanging profanities with Cavalear, who was then handcuffed behind his back and transported to the booking section.

On their way to the booking section, Cavalear told Camacho and Haddy to stop because his spine hurts as he is an Army veteran and hurt his back during his military service.

Haddy said Camacho told Cavalear that he is not a veteran but a (expletive) virgin.

During cross-examination by defense counsel Colin Thompson, Haddy described the degree of force of Camacho’s slapping as a 5 or in the middle in the 1 to 10 scale.

Haddy said when he was holding the arms of Cavalear, he was not trying to dislocate or hurt his arms.

Haddy said he does not know whether Camacho’s intent of holding the arms and slapping was to hurt the inmate.

Haddy said Cavalear was not cooperative and constantly moving around.

He agreed with Thompson that his purpose was to control and not hurt Cavalear.

Haddy also agreed with Thompson that it’s chaotic when someone was screaming and moving in a small room.

During assistant attorney general Matthew Baisley’s re-direct examination, Haddy said to his memory he saw Camacho slap Cavalear on the face.

Haddy said he was just telling the truth as Baisley told him.

After Haddy, Baisley called their last witness—Department of Public Safety police director Pete Deleon Guerrero.

Deleon Guerrero testified that based on the video footage, he has not seen any resistance on Cavalear’s part and that in his opinion, Camacho used excessive force.

Deleon Guerrero, who is also currently on detail with CNMI Homeland Security, has been an instructor for local law enforcers, including Corrections officers, for several years. Among the lessons he teaches is the use of force policy.

Deleon Guerrero said would always emphasize during trainings to just use minimum force on the subjects to mitigate the incidents.

“Striking to the head, face, and spine, you cannot do that as law enforcers,” he pointed out.

The police director said the use of minimum force is the guiding principle in the law enforcements.

He said law enforcers should not hit the subject everything on the head, including the neck.

Deleon Guerrero said subjecting a handcuffed subject to bend over during escort would create people’s harsh perception on police officers.

Shown by Baisley with one of footage when Camacho and Haddy were transporting Cavalear, Deleon Guerrero said the officers could dislocate the inmate’s shoulder.

Deleon Guerrero pointed to a portion in the video when Cavalear was already in much pain and was screaming.

The police director said he did not see any resistance from Cavalear based on his body’s position and that the inmate was not even kicking.

Deleon Guerrero said when escorting he does not care what the subject was saying or shouting.

Cavalear testified that in his cell, Camacho put him down to the floor and put his (Camacho) weight on his back. He said he is about 130 lbs and that Camacho is possibly 300 lbs now.

There was no video footage in Cavalear’s cell, where the commotion started.

The trial will resume on Monday at 9am. Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo is presiding over the trial.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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