NYC Corrections Officers Cover-Up Inmate Assault
Bronx County Supreme Court Justice Martin Marcus ruled on October 15, 2015 in favor of Carlos Sanchez a prison inmate at Rikers Island Prison in New York, in the case in which former Rikers Island Prison guard Victor Rodman physically assaulted Sanchez blinding him in one eye.
Details of the Lawsuit
According to prison video surveillance the assault occurred on July 8, 2009 as Rodman was attempting to break up a fight between Sanchez and another inmate. It was proven in court that Rodman struck Sanchez’s face leaving him permanently blind in one eye.
As reported by Reuters, Rodman and a fellow former guard was also charged and convicted with covering up the assault by filing false reports claiming Rodman was not in the building at the time of the incident.
Sentencing for the former guards begins December 15 of this year; both guards face up to four years in prison.
Investigation Reveals Pattern of Inmate Injuries
It appears that brutal attacks on inmates are quite common at Rikers, the United States’ second largest prison. A four-month investigation conducted by the New York Times found that:
- Over an 11-month period in 2013, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which handles medical care at Rikers, reported that 129 inmates suffered serious injuries.
- The injuries sustained (in altercations with correction department staff members) were untreatable by the doctors at the prison’s clinics due to lack of resources.
- Inmates suffered injuries like fractures, wounds requiring stitches, head injuries etc.
- Approximately 77% of the victims were diagnosed with some form of mental illness.
- The New York Times stated, “The study also contained hints of efforts to cover up the assaults.” Inmates that sought medical treatment were often intimidated or faced some kind of interference.
- Prison inmate brutality and abuse by prison authorities and other staff members seem to be a growing problem. While inmates are convicted criminals they are still persons with constitutional rights.