What happened to Edwin Segarra? Family members demand answers after Brooklyn inmate dies of COVID-19

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Son of Edwin Segarra demands answers from the Metropolitan Detention Center Monday evening.
Photo by Dean Moses

Protesters demanded answers Monday night after they claimed the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn is holding the body of an inmate hostage after his death from COVID-19 on Feb. 5.

A large gathering amassed across the street from the jail on Feb. 8 to call for greater transparency in the death of 46-year-old Edwin Segarra, an inmate who passed away from COVID-19 mere days after receiving the vaccine.

Segarra’s family members say officials will not respond to requests for greater details into his death, nor will they release the body to his loved ones for funeral preparations. In hopes of aiding in the plea for clarity, protest organization Black Lives Matter Greater New York helped the deceased’s family organize a rally at the foot of the 12-story high federal building.

Black Lives Matter of Greater New York lent their support to the Segarra family. Photo by Dean Moses

With megaphones in hands and banners depicting the face of Edwin Segarra, the group chanted “No more!” as they faced the imposing prison located on 80 29th Street. Hearing the crowd below, the silhouettes of those incarcerated could be seen scaling the bars on their windows and heard hammering the glass with their fists. Son of Edwin Segarra, Eddie Segarra called out to those held up in the facility, shouting: “I see you; I hear you!”

Eddie Segarra is both grief-stricken and confused regarding the death of his father, who had been locked up since 2009 on drug dealing and robbery charges. Learning of his father’s illness through family members, Eddie is begging for more answers.   

“They have a program in there where they can text. He was in contact with my mom and my aunt. He let them know on the 23rd that he caught the virus after taking the vaccine,” Eddie Segarra told amNewYork Metro, becoming emotional.

Tears were shed as protesters looked upon the Metropolitan Detention Center. Photo by Dean Moses

Since Segarra suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, loved ones worried that the vaccine was not safe for him to receive and ultimately contributed to his untimely demise. The concerns that have only grown since the Metropolitan Detention Center has gone radio silent after his death.

“I want to know—where are the medical records? I just want to see those documents, his vitals. I want to know they were looked at and it was approved for him to take that dose. Without any of that information, we are just left here without any answers. That is the worst you can do, at least give us something,” Eddie Segarra explained as he stood in the shadow of the Metropolitan Detention Center, which has been closed to visitors since the dawn of the pandemic.

Eddie Segarra was comforted during a speech. Photo by Dean Moses

About 40 protesters—lit only by the headlights of parked cars—gave speeches and recited chants directed at the walls of Metropolitan Detention Center, behind which Edwin Segarra first became sick before being rushed to NYU Langone on the date of his death.

For well over an hour, protesters took the government facility to task while also calling on the newly installed Biden-Harris administration to take the side of “good” and intervene. It is hoped that through actions like these, officials will be forced to release Segarra’s body and the details surrounding his death.   

“These people need this, they need to know they are not forgotten,” Eddie Segarra said, referring to the over 1,500 individuals housed in the facility.

amNewYork Metro reached out to the Metropolitan Detention Center and the Department of Corrections for comment and is awaiting a response.

Chivona Renee Newsome of Black Lives Matter Greater New York rose a fist to the sky. Photo by Dean Moses
About forty protesters gathered in search of answers. Photo by Dean Moses