Four Rikers Island guards suspended after they waited for seven minutes before rescuing teen inmate who tried to hang himself

Four Rikers Island guards were suspended this week after they allegedly failed to intervene as an inmate was trying to hang himself.


                            Four Rikers Island guards suspended after they waited for seven minutes before rescuing teen inmate who tried to hang himself
(Source : Getty Images)

As New York pushes to close down Rikers, it is now engulfed in a fresh new controversy. Four Rikers Island guards were suspended this week after they allegedly failed to intervene as an inmate was trying to hang himself. The 18-year-old inmate who tried to commit suicide has been identified as Nicholas Feliciano by the New York Times. He has been placed on a respirator and is in critical condition as of Tuesday at the Elmhurst Hospital Prison Ward, say reports. 

Three guards and one captain are said to have waited for several minutes while the inmate tried to hang himself in his cell at the George R. Vierno Center on November 28 midnight. "The claims being made here are extremely troubling and we are taking them seriously,” DOC Commissioner Cynthia Brann said in a statement. “Three officers and one captain have already been suspended and if the outcome of the investigation warrants we will take appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination,” Brann added.

He had been arrested for a parole violation on November 19 and was being held at the jail. He had been moved from the general population to a holding cell after he was involved in an altercation the day before the incident. The incident was caught on video and the NYT reported that it showed the teen inmate wrapping a piece of cloth around his neck with the other end on the ceiling pipe of his cell. 

The video showed that during the attempt, he had tried to find solid ground, attempting to put his feet back on the wall that separated the toilet from the cell that he had jumped off from. He stayed hanging for seven minutes before being rescued.

The building where the inmate tried to commit suicide is the same one where an inmate was brutally beaten by five correction officers who were later convicted for the crime in 2012. Jahmal Lightfoot is said to have been beaten by the officers with their fists and boots as he curled on the floor in an effort to save himself. He sustained eye socket fractures and said he threw up blood and had a blurry vision. He had been in jail for stealing a pocketbook in 2010. 

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