2 former southwest Florida jail guards acquitted in beating of inmate


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FORT MYERS, Florida — A federal jury in Fort Myers has acquitted two former DeSoto County jail guards of charges they beat a prisoner and then tried to cover up the assault.

The verdict was reached Wednesday afternoon just hours after telling the judge they were deadlocked.

Officials had accused Steven Rizza with one count of violating the civil rights of another. Rizza and Jonathan Mause were each charged with one count of falsifying records in a federal investigation, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury to a grand jury. Mause was also charged with one count of making a false statement to a federal investigator.

The beating took place in May 2013.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1z5zaoT ) reports Assistant U.S. Attorney Jesus Casas didn't comment after the verdict.

Information from: Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com

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