THE BRONX (PIX11) — Correction officers at the Rikers Island jail facility allegedly tried to cover up an attack by and officer on an inmate, officials with the Bronx District Attorney’s office said Tuesday.
Three officers were indicted on charges of falsifying business records and official misconduct. The officer who allegedly assaulted the inmate was also charged with third-degree assault.
All three officers have been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case, officials said. They could be fired if found guilty.
“We must hold correction officers to a high standard,” DA Darcel Clark said. “These defendants violated the trust put in them by allegedly filing false instruments about an officer’s assault on an inmate. Just as the alleged violence will not be tolerated, neither will the coverup, especially in this turbulent time in Rikers Island.”
Carl Williams, 31, allegedly hit an inmate in the face in the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Oct. 14, officials said. Surveillance video showed the detainee has been standing with his hands to his side before the attack, but 58-year-old Roy Dewar and 64-year-old Jatan Das allegedly claimed otherwise.
They allegedly submitted reports claiming the inmate was the aggressor, saying the use of force was justified. All three correction officers are due back in court on April 19.
The indictment against the officers doesn’t reflect on the other men and women working at the Department of Correction, Commissioner Louis Molina said.
“Since day one, I reaffirmed my commitment to hold all staff accountable. Clearly action should have been taken closer in time to when this incident occurred. Waiting over a year to bring these charges is unacceptable,” Molina said. “Timely and meaningful action is required for sustainable reform to take hold. The conduct alleged here is unacceptable and a violation of the officers’ oath and duty to this city and our agency.”
Benny Boscio, present of the union representing the correction officers, said the charges were trumped up.
“The fact that the Bronx DA has chosen to indict these three officers over allegations that were made over two years ago tells us that this case is being driven more by the politics of our times than by the facts,” he said. “Furthermore, these types of allegations have historically been handled within the Department of Correction’s disciplinary system rather than being turned into a criminal case and media circus. We hope that the over 800 cases of inmates charged with assaulting our officers over the past five years will be treated with the same zealous prosecution displayed in this case.”