An anti-gay abuse scandal that rocked Rikers Island in 2014 has resulted in a landmark settlement for the victims. The New York City prison assault took place on May 9th of that year when the victim, Thomas Hamm, was visiting an inmate at the correctional facility. According to Hamm’s statement, when he greeted his same-sex partner with a hug and a kiss, he was ordered to stop by the guards overseeing the visitation despite the DOC’s protocols which allow for such limited displays of affection.
While the couple calmly visited at a table, Hamm claims, at least one guard repeatedly uttered homophobic slurs in their direction. When he stood to leave, Hamm argued that he surrounded and attacked by a group of Rikers Island correction officers and beaten severely.
Medical records show that Hamm was indeed transported to a nearby hospital and treated for facial fractures and head trauma. He continued treatment at the prison. But to insult to injury, Hamm was charged with assaulting an officer and harassment. These charges were not pursued and eventually dropped.
One year later Hamm filed a lawsuit seeking damages for abuses of his Civil Rights. The case was recently settled out of court for a reported $280,000.
A spokesperson for NYC Department of Corrections said that discriminatory practices are not tolerated at Rikers Island. However, as a condition of Hamm’s settlement, the Department of Corrections must go on record, publically state its policy, and instruct all officers at Rikers Island that this type of discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual or physical abuse or harassment at the hands of correctional officers at Rikers Island, you need an experienced prison assault attorney in New York City on your side. Contact the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel today. Call 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 right now.