Rikers Island prisoners attack correction officer
Alleged gang members are taking part in the beating.
Four gang-affiliated Rikers Island prisoners pled not guilty to gang assault charges on Monday, after they were captured on surveillance video pummeling a correction officer violence they left him with a broken back, the officials said.
Steven Espinal, Devin Burns, Nazeem Francis and Samson Walston — who are all under the age of 21 and allegedly affiliated with the Bloods-gang — appeared in court on Monday in the alleged attack on correction officer John Roston Souffrant, FOX5NY reported. Two other persons, Eric Morris, and Jeffrey Valdez, were also charged, but not indicted.
The six prisoners were captured on surveillance camera approaching the 39-year-old correction officer Saturday evening for a, presumably Espinal, delivered the first punch that knocked Souffrant on the ground. The five other prisoners were then seen charging in the direction of Souffrant’s body and stomping on him until other officers intervened.
BREAKING: photo of the 39-year-old Correction officer was attacked by 4 gang members in GMDC on #rikers. Officer has a broken back … @PIX11News pic.twitter.com/rH2eQiFPaV
— Dan Mannarino (@DanMannarino) February 11, 2018
The agents in the pepper spray used on the prisoners to stop the brutal attack, according to FOX5NY. Souffrant was recorded in the hospital in Intensive Care with a broken back and swelling in his brain. He was conscious and talking, with effect from Monday.
The officials, who called the prisoners “animals”, said Saturday the attack was planned by the alleged leader Espinal, who allegedly became angry after Souffrant issued a violation, PIX11 reported.
“Burns and Espinal explained that they were going to assault this officer. And then they went to the daycare center, they had a conversation prior to the advent of the day room and they assaulted this officer,” Correction Captain Johanna Banks said in a press conference.
Attack on Rikers correction officer may have been gang retaliation: sources https://t.co/DqhPJmHHzT pic.twitter.com/okcGROW2fd
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) on February 12, 2018
The six prisoners, reportedly, in anticipation of the trials on charges are attempted murder, sexual assault, attempted theft and burglary.
Elias Husamudeen, the president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, also told PIX11: “That officer was a good officer, did his work, he wrote the inmate a ticket. The prisoner was not very happy about the card and decided that he would go … knock-out of this ‘super cop.'”
Four Rikers inmates charged in the attack on correction officer https://t.co/0VM3Dpfb31 pic.twitter.com/5JBeQ8gIJN
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) February 13, 2018
Husamudeen also placed blame on the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, the union’s president said “no respect for the law and order.”
A spokesman Blasio said in a statement: “We’ll get to the bottom of this horrific attack and keep the stakeholders accountable. COs (correction officers) have one of the hardest jobs in the city of the government—often thankless and always dangerous.”
Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter via @bykatherinelam