Surveillance Video Shows Rikers Island Prison Guards Ignored Dying Man

© Flickr / vgm8383Rikers may be a haven for renegade guards who only narrowly escaped jail themselves.
Rikers may be a haven for renegade guards who only narrowly escaped jail themselves. - Sputnik International
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Newly released surveillance footage from Rikers Island jail shows corrections officers stepping over and watching a man slowly die from diabetes-related complications after his insulin was taken away.

The Rikers Island prison complex has been under intense scrutiny as reports of violence, neglect and misconduct continue to emerge. - Sputnik International
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The video, obtained by the New York Times by the family of the victim, captured the events of June 22, 2013, when Carlos Mercado was left to die over the course of 14 hours following his arrest for selling a small amount of heroin.

The footage shows Mercado being ignored by Rikers staff all evening as he stumbled around unsteadily carrying a trash bag containing his own vomit before collapsing on the floor. Corrections Officer Eric Jacobs is seen carelessly stepping over his helpless body not once, but twice without assisting him.

Before Mercado lapsed into a diabetic coma, he begged at least 28 officers and medical staff for help and received none.

Other inmates even joined in to rally for Mercado to receive medical treatment, but a nurse insisted that he did not need immediate medical attention.

“The inmate was foaming at the mouth, discoloration around his lips and gasping for air. The inmates again shouted out for assistance to DOC staff and medical staff members,” court documents state.

According to the documents, inmate Heriberto Bermudez overheard a corrections officer ordering Mercado off the ground and to take methadone.

“‘Well if he don't get up when I call him, he ain't gonna get his methadone,’” Bermudez recounted a guard saying.

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Mercado’s sister Linda Mercado has filed a lawsuit accusing the city and the healthcare provider Corizon of deprivation of her brother’s civil rights, failing to properly train and supervise the workers involved, medical malpractice, negligence, and wrongful death, Gothamist reported.  

“Nobody should have to die like that,” Linda Mercado told the New York Daily News. “All he was asking for was his medicine. That’s all he needed. He would be here today.”

A settlement conference is scheduled to take place on November 13.

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