Corrections officers fired for tasering appeal termination
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Two corrections officers who are accused of tasering four inmates in the Protective Custody Unit have been fired from their jobs. The two are appealing their case to the Civil Service Commission, claiming they've been set up.
Jose San Agustin said, "As of December 17, two days ago, I have terminated the two individuals that were involved in that tasering incident." DepCor's director held a press conference this morning hoping to clear the record and keep the public informed about his efforts to clean house at the prison. "With the bad media that has gone out due to many reasons, it has also punished the department in a negative way," he asserted.
In October, an inmate came forward alleging he had been held down while an officer tasered him and another officer stood by and watched. The officers - Michael Martinez and Matthew Gill - were never found in possession of the weapon, but San Agustin made the decision to terminate anyway.
"Again, I want to caution, it is very difficult that you're going to have four inmates, inmates in protective custody, just make up stories," he explained.
Gill, a seven-year veteran of DepCor, agreed to speak with KUAM News today and believes his termination is personally motivated. When asked if he ever tasered any inmates, he said, "No, that never happened." He likewise said he never saw any of his coworkers use a taser on any inmates. "I also feel that because of Sgt. Maratita's involvement, saying that I was the one who leaked out those pictures, I feel that's why they're upset with me. That's why they're doing this," he added.
While Gill and Martinez were fired based off the allegations made by four inmates, two of whom had previously filed a stay away order from gill that was later lifted, DepCor is investigating the discovery of a taser flash light in another officer's possession; however, he was never placed on administrative leave.
KUAM News: You all recovered a taser from an officer, but I believe that officer wasn't necessarily implicated in this particular case, yes? What action was taken against that officer since he was found in possession of a taser?
Jeff Limo, DepCor spokesman: That is still ongoing. That's an ongoing investigation. That's a separate investigation.
But Gill says he has a signed informational report from his co-worker who states that he has no knowledge of and never witnessed any alleged assault and abuse with a taser. In fact, on November 8, DepCor Officer C.J. Manglona admitted that he had a taser and he never loaned it to Gill or Martinez. Manglona writing, "Internal officer Jeff Limo kept insisting that I give their names up to clear mine. I had spoken to my shift commander, Sergeant M.U. Maratita and she said to just give Officer Gill's name and its okay to give Gill's name 'cause I see him to be like that."
During today's press conference the director and Limo would not confirm the information, stating only, "We cannot go into detail in reference of what he or she said at this point again that's a separate incident and a separate investigation. The details to the taser incident is concluded as far as the director making his decision."
Gill maintains there is so much more information to show that he and Martinez are being wrongly accused but says DepCor management refuses to take a look and fired them for an alleged incident with no proof. "But yet we're still guilty without any proof whatsoever.
Gill and Martinez now wait for the CSC to hear their appeals.