BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The U.S. Attorney's Office says an Erie County Correctional Facility deputy pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation involving an inmate.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says 54-year-old Josephine Cutolo used a chemical spray on an inmate in August of 2012. At the time of the incident, the inmate was in handcuffs, subdued and being escorted by two other deputies, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
They say Cutolo aimed the spray a few inches from the victim's face, affecting the victim's face, chin and shoulder area. Then, Cutolo allegedly yelled a vulgar obscenity at the inmate.
Cutolo pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law. The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, $100,000 fine or both.
Erie County Undersheriff Mark Wipperman released this statement following Cutolo's guilty plea:
"The Sheriff's Office immediately suspended Josephine Cutolo without pay when we became aware of this incident back in August 2012. We subsequently asked the FBI to conduct the investigation. As soon as we were informed by the United States Attorney's Office that criminal charges were pending against Cutolo, she was terminated. The Erie County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Buffalo Office for investigating this incident and U.S Attorney William Hochul for securing a guilty plea today in Federal Court. All law enforcement officers, regardless of their title or position, must abide by their oath of office and protect all who are entrusted to their custody and care. The Sheriff's Office has a zero tolerance policy against any type of inmate abuse and I believe the way we handle this incident is clear evidence of that."
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