5 NY teen inmates indicted on felony assault charges after attacks on COs
The attacks all happened in October, during the chaos that erupted after the center started taking in 16- and 17-year-old inmates from Rikers Island
By John Annese
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Five teenage inmates, including an accused murderer awaiting trial, face new assault charges in a string of vicious attacks on correction officers at the Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx.
The attacks all happened in October, during the chaos that erupted after the center started taking in 16- and 17-year-old inmates from Rikers Island. One attack left a correction officer with a broken nose after a teen inmate bashed him with a walkie-talkie. Another correction officer was beaten into unconsciousness, prosecutors said.
The Bronx DA’s office announced indictments against the teens on Tuesday. A sixth teen was charged with obstructing government administration.
Rennie Patterson, 17 -- who is awaiting trial in the Dec. 2017 shooting death of 32-year-old John Barnes outside a Crown Heights deli — was involved in two separate attacks prosecutors said.
On Oct. 4, he punched an officer in the head twice while correction officers at Horizon were trying to prevent another inmate, 17-year-old Jaheem Ware, from throwing a garbage can in a housing area, prosecutors said. Ware faces charges in several Brooklyn cases, including robbery, assault and attempted murder.
On Oct. 27, prosecutors said, he and two other inmates, Juneal Jackson, 18 and Alfred Burns, 17, repeatedly punched an officer and hit the officer with broken broom handles, according to prosecutors.
Jayquon Coleman, 18, is charged in the Oct. 7 walkie-talkie beating, which prosecutors say left a correction officer with a cut and broken nose.
In another alleged attack, 17-year Zahkari Bennett punched an officer into unconsciousness on Oct. 3, causing him to hit his head and body on a table and chair, prosecutors said. Bennett was sentenced to 42 months in jail in November for his role in a Manhattan robbery.
About 100 teens were moved to the Horizon center from Rikers Island on Oct. 1 to comply with the state’s new “Raise the Age” law to treat 16- and 17-year-old offenders as juveniles.
More than 10 fights broke out at Horizon in the first 10 days after the transfer. On Oct. 10, the state allowed correction officers there to use pepper spray for a week.
Jackson and Coleman, now 18, were 17 when the assaults took place, prosecutors said.