Rikers Fight Club: The Ides of June Leave 5 Slashed in One Week
The week of June 5 to June 12 was a pretty bad one out on Rikers Island. Records obtained by the Voice show there were at least 8 significant fights, 5 inmates suffered slash wounds, several inmates sustained serious injuries, and there were 5 uses of force by correction officers.
The worst of the incidents included a triple slashing, and a fight involving 11 inmates.
The reports contain a troubling footnote: even though cameras are ubiquitous on Rikers, in at least 3 of the incidents, no video was available. That could mean the cameras didn't exist or weren't working, or it could mean that inmates have figured out where to fight to avoid being captured on videotape.
On June 5, at the Anna M. Kross Center, inmate Juan Martinez suffered a broken eye socket in a fight between rival gang members. The fight was not captured on camera.
On June 7, inmate Timothy Mitchell was slashed on one cheek in another fight at the Otis Bantum Correctional Center. No videotape tape was available.
On June 8, in the Robert M. Davoren Center, inmate Jermaine Wilkins was slashed in the face, suffering a gash on one ear and a puncture wound in the mouth.
Also on June 8 in AMKC, there was a triple slashing. Two inmates attacked a third, slashing him. He fought back, cutting them too. Correction officers ordered them to stop fighting and they refused. An officer then used pepper spray on them and that finally stopped the fight.
Inmate Charles McInnis suffered a left cheek laceration. Inmate Rohan Francis suffered a slashing that needed six stitches to close. Inmate James Mayo had a slash wound to one shoulder.
Investigators found a sharpened piece of metal at the scene. Again, there was no video record of the altercation.
On June 10, in RNDC, two inmates refused orders to stop fighting, and had to be pepper sprayed. There was video of that incident.
Also on June 10 in RNDC, four inmates were fighting, requiring pepper spray. Guards locked down the unit where the fight took place.
On June 11, another multiple inmate fight took place. In all, 11 inmates were fighting, with one inmate using a crutch as a weapon and another using a chair. Pepper spray was used.
On June 12, in RNDC, one teen inmate attacked another, forcing correction officers to use pepper spray to stop it. Again, there was no video record made.
Also on June 12, a search in AMKC turned up a single edge razor, a pistol made out of soap (pictured), a long sharpened metal rod, and a large sharpened screw.
We asked Correction Department spokeswoman Sharman Stein for more details, and whether there was any specific reason for the violence. She provided this statement: "The Anna M. Kross Center, Robert N. Davoren Center and Otis Bantum Correctional Center are three of the city's largest jails and they confine a population the majority of which is charged with serious person-to-person felonies.
"This conduct doesn't stop with their arrest. Many of these inmates have been sent to jail many times before. Most of the incidents being cited by the Voice are about Correction Officers doing their jobs - intervening early and effectively to prevent inmates from harming others."