Two former correction officers who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the assault of inmates on Rikers Island back in 2008 received state prison sentences in the Bronx on Tuesday. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
After reaching a plea deal with the Bronx district attorney's office, former Correction Officers Michael McKie and Khalid Nelson learned their fates Tuesday in State Supreme Court in the Bronx.
City investigators said the pair were among officers at Rikers Island running an intimidation campaign known as "the program," and they had ordered teenage inmates to beat up others to maintain discipline in the adolescent unit.
McKie, seen above left, who pleaded guilty to assault, was sentenced to two years in state prison.
Nelson, seen above right, who pleaded guilty to attempted assault, was sentenced to one year.
"What Mr. Nelson pled guilty to was attempted assault of one particular individual, and in pleading guilty to that particular charge, it was not necessarily that he put hands on an individual," said Renee Hill, Nelson's attorney.
McKie may not serve much, if any of his sentence, as he has already spent 20 months in jail as his family tried to raise bail.
The two defendants told a judge they helped inmates at Rikers Island beat and attempt to beat other inmates in 2008, and officers said it lead to the beating death of 18-year-old Christopher Robinson in October 2008.
"Maybe he would be here had people done their jobs," said Charnel Robinson, the mother of Christopher Robinson.
While McKie and Nelson were not charged in Robinson's death because they were not physically on the unit when he was killed, Robinson's mother thinks they deserved harsher sentences.
"When I think of it in light of my dead son, it's not justice, and I think it's unfair," said Charnel Robinson, who has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
"A civil case has been filed, and a civil case will be pursued for damages for this family," said Sanford Rubenstein, Robinson's attorney.
Charges are still pending against another correction officer and seven inmates in the case. Five inmates already pleaded guilty to participating in the program.