They're supposed to keep the law and order in the jail system, but several correction officers have been indicted for allegedly breaking the law, as well as allegedly breaking an inmate's face. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Ten correction officers were in court Wednesday, accused of brutally beating an inmate on Rikers Island and then trying to cover it up.
Bronx prosecutors said the C.O.'s acted like they were violent gang members.
"While pointing to inmate Jahmal Lightfoot, said, 'This guy thinks he's tough. When you get him down to intake, I want you to kick his [expletive] teeth in," said Bronx Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Piergrossi.
The seven correction officers, two captains and an assistant chief, who has resigned since the incident a year ago, say they're not guilty and only defended themselves against Jahmal Lightfoot, who they say had a homemade blade.
Several correction employees and their union showed up to court and lashed out at the Bronx DA for charging the officers.
"I believe that the Bronx is yet a place where you can't get a fair trial, so I will ask our attorneys to ask for a change of venue, because we're not going to get a fair trial here in the Bronx," said Norman Seabrook, president of the correction officers' union. "Correction officers patrol the toughest precincts in New York, the city jails, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, yet we won't get the justice that we deserve."
The family of inmate Jahmal Lightfoot said justice for them is jail time for the officers. His mother is also suing the city.
"To see my son, his face was burgundy, his whole face was burgundy from his forward to his chin. His eyes were pushed back. His eyes were burgundy bloodshot. He had cuts in his face," said Margaret Burton, Jahmal Lightfoot's mother.
"Both orbits of his eyes being fractured, fractured nose, fractured sinus, facial injuries, injuries that are dental, as well as leaving him with a vision problem and a disfigured face," said Sanford Rubenstein, Lightfoot's attorney. "This should not be happening at Rikers Island."
The Correction Department said the officers have been suspended.
Lightfoot has been moved off of Rikers Island. His family plans to meet with the DA and ask that he still be put in protective custody.