A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy has been charged with beating a 19-year-old inmate in the back seat of a patrol car, prosecutors said Friday.
Deputy Matthew John Funicello, 31, was transporting the inmate from the sheriff's station in Palmdale to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles on July 22, 2011. He allegedly punched the inmate several times during the trip, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said.
Funicello was placed on paid leave shortly after the alleged beating, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told NBC4.
Whitmore said the deputy continued to receive pay until Thursday, when a prosecutor with the district attorney's Justice System Integrity Division charged Funicello with assault under color of authority, a felony that carries a sentence of up to three years in county jail.
Funicello was booked at the Crescenta Valley sheriff's station Thursday night and was released on $35,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court on May 20.