Family calls for justice after MDC detainee dies by suicide in custody

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Ryan WIlson

Ryan Wilson

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LOWER MANHATTAN — The family of a Manhattan Detention Complex detainee who took his own life is calling for justice, speaking at a public event Thursday.

Ryan Wilson, 29 suffered from mental illness, according to his family.

Wilson died by suicide while being held inside the Manhattan Detention Complex less than two weeks ago.

“Our brother didn’t deserve to die” said Elayna Mason, Wilson’s sister.

On Nov. 22, correction officers found Wilson unresponsive in his cell at MDC, also known as the “Tombs.”

The family’s attorney, Benjamin Pinczewski, asked how Wilson was able to take his own life inside the facility.

“It’s not supposed to be a tomb for people, it’s supposed to be a jail,” he said. “How in the world does this happen?”

The city said in a statement that medical staff responded to Wilson and administered CPR before he was taken to a local hospital.

A captain and a correction officer were both suspended immediately after the incident, but the family wants the officers to face criminal charges.

Wilson served seven years in prison and was released at the start of the pandemic; his family said he didn’t have any resources to aid in his transition.

Police re-arrested Wilson in October for robbery; that’s how he ended up in the Manhattan Detention Complex.

“What supervision did he have while he had his mental issues?” his sister asked. “He was supposed to be under watch, and he wasn’t.”

Wilson’s family plans on filing a lawsuit against the city.

A Department of Corrections official told PIX11 the city is investigating.

“Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Wilson’s family in their time of grief. We take the health and safety of everyone in our custody seriously, and an investigation into this death is underway,” said Jason Kersten, a spokesperson for the department of corrections.

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