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Former Rikers Island Assistant Chief Eliseo Perez , Ex-Captain Gerald Vaughn, four correction officers get prison time for inmate’s brutal beating

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Six former Rikers Island officers get prison time for inmate’s brutal beating 

Assitant Chief Eliseo Perez Jr., jailed 6.5 years,Capt. Gerald Vaughn 5.5 years

Four officers – David Rodriguez, Tobias Parker, Jose Parra and Alfred Rivera – convicted of implementing beating, 4.5 years each

Officers claimed Jahmal Lightfoot, 31, was savagely beaten in a cell because he charged at them with a razor

Lightfoot got nearly 4 months of solitary confinement, in addition, after prison authorities bought the officers ‘attack’ story

Officers Harmon Frierson and Dwayne Maynard, convicted on misdemeanor cover up, sentenced to 500 hours community service

Officer Jeffrey Richard, acquitted and retains job as correction officer, Capt. Michael Pollard, medical excuse, yet to face trial, retired this summer

The officers were charged with official misconduct and attempted gang assault, falsifying records, obstruction of justice

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Instigator-In-Chief, Ex-assistant Chief Eliseo Perez Jr., received longest sentence of 6.5 years in a state prison
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All convicted: L – R, Eliseo Perez Jr., David Rodriguez, Alfred Rivera, Tobias Parker and Jose Parra
Six former city correction officers on Rikers Island, including a high-ranking chief and a captain, became inmates on Friday when they were sentenced for their roles in the brutal beating of a prisoner, Friday, in front of a packed gallery in Bronx Supreme Court.
Each of the six officers convicted of violent felonies stepped up to learn their fate, in a crowded courtroom.

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The group of nine Rikers Island correction officers comprising of two jail captains and seven lower ranking officers had been charged with allegedly carrying out and coverup  in the savage July 2012 beat down of inmate, Jahmal Lightfoot.
Assistant Guards Chief Eliseo Perez Jr., a former assistant head of security at Rikers is accused of ordering a team of officers to beat Lightfoot to a pulp in July 2012.
Prosecutors say Perez ordered the brutal attack after Lightfoot locked eyes with him during a weapons search.

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Former Capt. Gerald “I want his teeth” Vaughn, jailed 5.5 years

Standing outside a search pen, the new assistant chief for security, Eliseo Perez Jr., locked eyes with an inmate.
“This guy thinks he’s tough,” Chief Perez said. He then ordered his subordinates to kick the inmate’s teeth in.
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On Chief Perez’s order, Jahmal Lightfoot, was led into the search pen where five members from an elite correction unit were waiting for him. According to the prosecution
“He was tackled, brought to the ground,” Mr. Piergrossi said. “He was repeatedly kicked with his body in a fetal position, covering his head.”
Post event photos of the inmate showed injuries, which included fractured eye sockets and a broken nose.
A few hours later, when the officers realized the extent of Mr. Lightfoot’s injuries, “the cover-up began to unfold”.
One correction officer, Alfred Rivera, claimed that Mr. Lightfoot had slashed him with a makeshift razor, prosecutors said. A captain, Michael Pollard, produced “a sharp piece of metal wrapped with tape,” which the officers claimed was the weapon Mr. Lightfoot had used against Officer Rivera, according to the indictment.
The prosecution said all  those claims, were untrue.

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Captain Michael Pollard (right) ‘manufactured’ the shiv evidence against Jahmal Lightfoot. Retired this summer, he is awaiting trial
defence-attorney-feldman-r-speaks-with-his-client-chief-eliseo-perez-l-in-court1Former assistant chief Perez consults with his attorney, Robert Feldman (r.) in court

Lightfoot, an ex-member of the Bloods gang, was at the city jail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to stealing a woman’s pocketbook in 2010.
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Perez had put out a defense of his actions in covering the deeds of his men when his attorney Robert Feldman, posted on social media that Lightfoot was beaten because he had a shank on him.
“Lightfoot had a shiv and when he was being strip searched he dropped it and as he was trying to retrieve it 4 big ESU guys tackled him to the ground and punched. Totally justified.” Feldman had posted this arguement before he [Feldman] was shut down by the trial judge.

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Jahmal Lightfoot after the beating and during the trial

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When Lightfoot came forward, a probe from the Department of Investigation and Bronx District Attorney’s office resulted in multiple indictments.
Lightfoot and his lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, filed a lawsuit against the city, thereafter.

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As at the time the lawsuit was filed Perez and Vaughn had retired.
The other seven officers on trial, Tobias Parker, Jeffery Richard, Alfred Rivera, David Rodriguez, Dwayne Maynard, Harmon Frierson and Jose Parra were suspended in 2013 but all reinstated with full pay and benefits, right before trial was to start.
In a dramatic twist, all nine correction officers charged with allegedly carrying out and covering up the brutal beating of inmate Lightfoot declined to testify during the trial.
On the stand, Jahmal Lightfoot, testifying in the trial against his jail house tormentors,  said after the stomping he was was doubly punished with over 100 days, nearly 4 months, alone in a cell.corrections-officer-alfred-rivera-charged-with-assault-and-falsifying-records1

Lead beatdown Officer, Alfred Rivera, claimed he was slashed by Lightfoot

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lead defendant, Former Rikers Island Chief Eliseo Perez Jr., right, exits the Bronx Hall of Justice

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Former Capt. Gerald Vaugh arriving in court

The jail authorities sided with the officers’ claims that he charged at them with a razor.
“So you were placed for 110 days in lockdown for something you didn’t do?” asked Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Piergrossi in Bronx Supreme Court.
“Yes,” responded Lightfoot.
The longest sentence, 6.5 years in state prison, was handed to the instigator of the chain of events, ex-assistant Chief Eliseo Perez Jr., the once assistant head of security at the city Correction Department. He was convicted of ordering the 2012 attack on inmate Jahmal Lightfoot.
Former Capt. Gerald Vaughn, who wanted to see Lightfoot’s “teeth on the floor,” received a sentence of 5.5 years.
While the four other officers – David Rodriguez, Tobias Parker, Jose Parra and Alfred Rivera were convicted of carrying out the beating in a jail search pen, out of view of security cameras. Each was sentenced to 4.5 years in state prison.

All six convicted officers received their  sentencing during a marathon [3 hour] session, after which all were taken back to Rikers Island for processing. They will eventually be sent to prisons upstate, officials said.

Rikers Island 9 gallery1.jpgThe former Rikers Island ‘Stomp And Coverup’ gang – six convicted. One acquitted. One awaiting trial
Top row from left: Eliseo Perez, retired assistant chief; Officer Jose Parra; Officer Alfred Rivera; Officer Tobias Parker; and Capt. Michael Pollard.
Bottom row from left, Officer David Rodriguez; Officer Jeffrey Richard; Officer Harmon Frierson; Officer Dwayne Maynard; and Capt. Gerald Vaughn.

Another two ex-officers charged in the beating, Harmon Frierson and Dwayne Maynard, were sentenced to 500 hours of community service on misdemeanor charges for their roles in covering up the assault.
Before handing down the sentences, a somber Bronx Judge Steven Barrett said the convicted officers had “succumbed to their worst instincts and to the casual violence that is too often prevalent among the prison population these men were entrusted to watch.”
“There are orders that cannot be followed,” he added.
Perez, the head of an anti-violence unit at Rikers, was charged with ordering officers to kick Lightfoot’s teeth in after singling him out during a weapons search to send a message to other inmates following a spree of jail stabbings.
Lightfoot, 31, testified that officers repeatedly stomped on his head while others held back his arms and legs.

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A pensive former corrections assistant chief Eliseo Perez (right), at Bronx Supreme Court in June

“What was supposed to be left behind that search pen, behind that white sheet, because of Jahmal Lightfoot’s courage has come to light,” said Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Piergrossi.
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The thrust of the three-month trial was that the officers fabricated evidence to claim Lightfoot had a razor on him.
A ninth indicted officer, Jeffrey Richard, was acquitted and still serves as a correction officer. A 10th indictee, Capt. Michael Pollard who retired this summer, had a medical issue and is yet to face trial.
Lightfoot, who admitted in court that he had been part of the Bloods street gang, was at the city jail awaiting sentencing on a robbery plea, sat in the the jury box during sentencing and declined to speak to reporters.

 

 

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1 Comment on Former Rikers Island Assistant Chief Eliseo Perez , Ex-Captain Gerald Vaughn, four correction officers get prison time for inmate’s brutal beating

  1. Lazaro Marino // March 31, 2017 at 12:21 am // Reply

    Justice!

    Like

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