Rikers Island has earned a bad reputation for excessive force in New York City including civil rights violations and the creation a “culture of prisoner abuse” over the years but the latest black eye for the jail complex stems from a bizarre incident in 2011. Barry Crawford, a Queens resident, was visiting a relative during regular visiting hours when he claims Rikers Island guards beat him.
The 54-year old says he was simply there to visit and deposit money into a commissary account when he was attacked. In documents filed in court Mr. Crawford states he was repeatedly punched in the face by a correction officer, then handcuffed, and dragged into prisoner holding. All of the violence took place just out of the view of several security cameras in the visitor’s area of the jail.
After being removed from the visiting area, Crawford says he was kicked, punched, and struck in the head with a radio. Photo evidence the victim released to the media appears to corroborate his story, showing bruises on his face, arms, torso, and legs.
Mr. Crawford filed a lawsuit alleging false imprisonment in New York seeking financial compensation for the violation of his civil rights and as recompense for the injuries he suffered. However, his case never went to trial. News of the $150,000 settlement offered by New York City came just minutes before jury selection was scheduled to begin in the case.
A spokesperson for the city says that it was beneficial for New York to agree to pay rather than allow the case to go to court in front of a jury.
If you or a loved one has been assaulted or suffered brutality at the hands of the NYPD or Rikers Island correction officers or falsely imprisoned by the NYPD or Rikers Island correction officers, you don’t have to suffer alone. Contact an expert New York City civil rights attorney today to discuss your case confidentially. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122 to learn your rights.