Five Rikers Island correction officers were convicted June 7, 2016, of beating of inmate Jahmal Lightfoot in 2012. The officers were found guilty on all charges, which included first-degree attempted assault, assault in the second degree, falsifying records and misconduct for the attack of Lightfoot. The worst of the convicted charges was first-degree attempted gang assault.
Jeffrey Richard was the sixth officer accused of the assault, but the jury found him not guilty as he was not directly involved in the crime or the coverup. There were nine officers involved in the offense. The jury provided a verdict for six of the nine. The remaining three officers opted to have the presiding judge, Justice Steven Barrett try them. The judge plans to deliver his verdict on Friday, June 10, 2016.
The case is considered a huge victory for New York prosecutors. Many inmate brutality cases have been unsuccessful for prosecutors because of lack of credible witnesses and the negative perceptions of criminals who are victims. Jonathan S. Abady, an attorney who has represented inmates in brutality cases against officers told, “The New York Times” that successful prosecution of corrections officers is rare. He continued to say that most people perceive inmates as less than human, making prosecution of their attackers more difficult. What sentences will be given to the convicted officers was not yet determined.
By Gichele Cocrelle
Edited by Cathy Milne
The New York Times: 5 Rikers Officers Convicted In Beating Inmate
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