NYC jail guards convicted of assaulting inmate, cover-up

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2015 6:42 PM

By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former guard at the troubled Rikers Island jail complex in New York City was convicted on Thursday of assaulting an inmate in 2009, leaving him permanently blind in one eye.

Victor Rodman was found guilty of assault by state Supreme Court Justice Martin Marcus in the Bronx following a two-week non-jury trial, the Bronx district attorney's office said.

In addition, Marcus convicted Rodman and another corrections officer, Michelle Hubert, of covering up the assault by filing false reports claiming Rodman was not in the building at the time of the incident.

Rodman was accused of striking Carlos Sanchez across the face after a fight between Sanchez and another inmate.

Both Rodman and Hubert face up to four years in prison at their sentencing on Dec. 15.

Defense lawyers for Rodman and Hubert were not immediately available for comment.

Rikers Island houses approximately 10,000 prisoners on any given day, making it one of the country's largest jail complexes.

In recent months, city and federal authorities have investigated allegations of rampant violence and other problems at the facility. Dozens of staff members have been arrested for assaulting inmates and smuggling contraband, among other charges.

On Tuesday, former Rikers guard Austin Romain was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in federal prison for smuggling marijuana and other banned items into the jail.

Next week, a federal judge is expected to consider whether to approve a settlement between the U.S. Justice Department and New York City aimed at reducing violence at Rikers. The agreement calls for a federal monitor and other reforms.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Dan Grebler)