Raul Leal: Immigrant Detention Center Officer Kicked Detainee in the Face, Breaking Skull, Feds Say

The Port Isabel Detention Center has long been the subject of complaints.
The Port Isabel Detention Center has long been the subject of complaints.

A former officer at the Port Isabel Detention Center kicked a detainee in the face, breaking a bone in his skull, and then lied to investigators, federal prosecutors alleged today.

Raul Leal, 31, was arrested without incident in his current home of Georgia, and faces ten years for the civil rights violation and 20 for obstruction of justice, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston said.

An indictment unsealed today says that on June 14, 2009, Leal, who was a lieutenant at PIDC, "allegedly assaulted an immigrant detainee by kicking him in the face resulting in a fracture of the detainee's orbital bone."

He lied about it in reports filed and then -- the coup de grace, which he obviously had plenty of time to come up with -- he told investigators in September 2009 "the detainee had sustained the facial fracture when the detainee's face inadvertently struck his knee. "

Those damn clumsy detainees, always stumbling face-first into people's knees with enough force to fracture skulls.

The PIDC holds detainees from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement but is a privately operated facility.

There have been periodic complaints about abuse and conditions there, including hunger strikes.

Leal is free on bond and will be tried in Brownsville, the USAO says.


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