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New York Times

In the NYC prison system, guards often lie about excessive power

New York — For no good reason, a New York City corrector beat the imprisoned person’s face. Another put the detainee in a banned strangler fig several times. According to newly released discipline records, one-third could not prevent their subordinates from using unnecessary force. But equally noteworthy was what happened after the encounter. In each case, the guards lied about what happened and provided inaccurate information. In fact, according to a recent New York Times record analysis, more than half of police officers who have been disciplined for 20 months in the New York City prison system are false, misleading, or in statements to investigators. I gave an incomplete explanation. It was announced after a long court battle. Data signing up for a morning newsletter from the New York Times suggests extensive attempts by security guards to use force and conceal other breaches as the city attempts to curb prison violence. doing. Keith Powers, a Democratic Party member of Manhattan who heads the Criminal Justice Commission, said the data “emphasizes how this process is broken and that real efforts need to be made to reform it.” Stated. “It’s a turning point in providing more visibility into the often invisible criminal justice system,” he said. The city’s prison system, including the infamous Rikers Island complex, has long been the source of complaints of atrocities by security guards. Six years ago, when the city entered into a groundbreaking legal settlement with federal prosecutors, an important part of the plan was to police officers in a timely manner, including more transparent accounting for powerful episodes. It was to take responsibility for cheating. “The entire system of reporting on the use of force relies on police officers telling the exact facts and telling the truth about what happened,” said the Director of the Prisoners’ Rights Project of the Legal Assistance Association. One Mary Lynn Welwas said. Unless there is video evidence, Mr. Welwas added, “The policeman’s words are credited if the imprisoned person’s words are contrary to the policeman’s words.” In the past, the disciplinary records of prison officers and their supervisors were largely kept secret by state law. It changed last summer when New York lawmakers abolished 50-a in response to pressure from police violence and racist protests after George Floyd’s murder. .. A union representing police officers, prison officers and their supervisors swiftly filed a proceeding in federal court to suspend the publication of disciplinary records, but federal judges and the Appeals Commission said that the publication of records would force police officers They eventually rejected their claims, including claims that they could endanger them. In March, the city released a database detailing disciplinary actions against prison officers. In summary, the revelation contained in the database depicts a picture of ongoing violence by security guards in a troubled urban prison system and confirms the findings of federal surveillance last fall. It was a common thread to lie to official forms and investigators. Records show that of the more than 270 prison officers disciplined between January 2019 and August 2020, 12 supervisors, liar, misunderstood investigators, or incomplete or incomplete or About 56% of those who submitted inaccurate reports. At least 17 officers made false statements in interviews with officials investigating the allegations. Data released by the department did not identify how police officers were found to have provided false information, but investigators usually recorded police officers’ statements in video footage and medical injuries. Compare with other evidence such as records. In less than two years, one officer, Lawrence Wallace, a 15-year veteran of the ministry, said he used excessive force on people in city prisons, including the deployment of banned restraints and pepper sprays. I was disciplined. In four of those cases, he lied to official reports of what happened, and records show at least once when he made a false statement to the investigator. Orthodontic authorities allowed Wallace to continue working, but docked 55 vacation days and put him on probation for two years. This decision was called by the department as a “holistic approach.” Wallace contacted by phone and declined to comment. Donna Lieberman, Secretary-General of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said: Joseph Russo, chairman of the union on behalf of the Deputy Observer and Assistant Deputy Observer, admitted that prison officials sometimes made misleading statements, but said he thought some were honest mistakes. He argued that officers and supervisors simply did not remember a particular interaction or their memory was uneven due to the stress surrounding the event. “It’s very difficult to remember these details in great detail,” Russo said. Benny Bosio Jr., president of the Correctional Officer Charity Association, said in a statement that the majority of the 9,400 police officers in the system did not have a “single disciplinary action.” City correctional bureau officials also said the reporting errors were not necessarily intentional. To reduce revocation, officials said the ministry has created a new course to teach executives how to improve their writing skills and complete official case reports. The department also provided counseling and retraining for executives. However, some gaps in the report are intentional concealment, the prison officer personally said on anonymous terms to protect their employment. One said he had witnessed colleagues using excessive force and omitting their actions from official records. For example, twist a man’s limbs after stopping resistance, or use a pepper spray longer than allowed. Another staff member said he saw executives gathering on Rikers Island to decide what to say on the official form. He also said the captain had asked him to change the time of the incident in the report and hide it when the incident happened. The data provided the most complete portrait of staff discipline to date in the city’s lockup, but records were still very limited. They identified officers by name alone, along with a brief description of the crime and its consequences. The records did not contain groundless allegations or cases in which the accused police officer removed the misconduct. It also did not include at least five guards who were dismissed in the last two years. Three of these police officers were charged with beating imprisoned people and concealing the assault, according to a law firm in the Bronx district. The other was arrested in Queens on suspicion of drunk driving. The data also did not include police officers who were disciplined for drug smuggling and sex crimes. According to authorities, drug smuggling allegations have generally been referred to local prosecutors, and rape allegations have not been substantiated for the 20 months in question. Still, records show that, in general, most guards raised on departmental accusations of exercising excessive force escaped serious punishment. According to data, nine out of more than 270 guards resigned or retired under pressure. Twenty-four officers were suspended and 17 additional officers were put on probation, lasting one to four years. (Some of the suspended police officers were also put on probation.) Most of the rest lost their vacation. Records show that six of the nine resigned or retired officers lied or filed incomplete reports of improper use of force. Jason Kersten, a corrections bureau spokesman, said: Of the 11 police officers in the data who were disciplined at least three times for fraud, only one was suspended. Nothing was rejected. The suspended police officer, Captain Quincy Udkerk, was found to have lied, among other things, about the power he used after kicking a non-threatening prisoner, records show. He was suspended for 28 days. Oudkerk declined to comment when contacted by phone. The database provided a minimal explanation of each case, but the proceedings filed against Wallace have raised more detailed claims. Arthur Caesar said in a 2015 proceeding that Wallace threw his shoes at him, pushed him into a cell in Manhattan detention center and sent him to the hospital. That same year, Wallace and several other guards suffered internal bleeding in the left eye and severe headaches after being accused of beating another person, Bashir Bajas, in prison. In January 2016, Shymell Ephron said in a third proceeding that he repeatedly hit his head while Wallace was in custody. The city settled with Eflon for $ 3,000. In the same year, Tobias Anderson, also listed as Olivia Anderson in court records, said in a fourth proceeding that Wallace called him a homophobic slur and deliberately dropped the stairs of a transgender housing unit. It was. In a statement, the amendment department was asked why Wallace was still employed by the department despite eight disciplinary actions associated with seven encounters, and authorities said “the whole situation.” Said that he considered. Penalties are not determined by the number of violations pending by prison officers, the agency said. Wallace has accumulated seven more indictments while waiting for his first allegations to be resolved in 2016, records show. Such delays are not uncommon. Data show that it took more than two years for about 46% of cases to resolve. In one extreme case, it took more than six years to discipline one guard Carlos Rodriguez. He forged the report in March 2014 without notifying the supervisor of the use of force against prisoners. External agencies such as the city’s investigative bureau and state and federal prosecutors were also conducting investigations, which often slowed down the disciplinary process. City data show that at least three police officers other than Wallace have been disciplined multiple times. A 10-year veteran, Patrick Alicea, was found to have used excessive force five times in nine months and made two false statements on the official form. He was demoted from captain to officer. According to data, the other two officers, Maximo Matos and Brian Sarrian, have both been in the military for eight years and have been disciplined four times for using inappropriate troops. .. Both officers also forged official statements. Matos lost 60 days off. Sarian, 55 years old. Sarian declined to comment when contacted by phone. Alicea did not respond to the request for comment and was unable to contact Matos. This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company

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