A group of Rikers Island correction officers and a former assistant chief of security were found guilty in connection with the gang assault of an inmate and the ensuing cover-up, the city’s Department of Investigation said on Tuesday.
In July 2012, inmate Jahmal Lightfoot was brutally beaten as officers were overseeing a search of the jail, according to the DOI. Lightfoot was brought to an intake area where several of officers attacked him in a small search cell.
“Today’s convictions make a strong statement: savagely beating an inmate will not be tolerated in the City’s jails,” DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters said in a statement. “This criminal investigation demonstrates how corruption can jeopardize the integrity of an elite response unit in the jails and the people’s faith in the professionalism of the jail system overall.”
Lightfoot suffered fractures to both of his eye sockets and a broken nose, according to the DOI. After the beating, his eyes swelled shut.
To justify the injuries, according to the DOI, the officers claimed Lightfoot attacked first, and they simply used force to restrain him. One of the officers later said Lightfoot had used a sharpened piece of metal to slash him in an apparently falsified report.
The four officers — Alfred Rivera, 47, Tobias Parker, 46, Jose Parra, 47, and David Rodriguez, 41 — and the former chief — Eliseo Perez Jr., 49 — were all convicted by a jury of first-degree attempted gang assault and attempted assault.
They are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 6.