Video: Rikers inmate punches CO in face
Inmate Rickeem Parker triggered the altercation after he “became aggressive” and threw a desk to the floor
By Thomas Tracy And Reuven Blau
New York Daily News
A Rikers Island inmate yanked a correction officer to the floor and repeatedly punched him in the face during a wild brawl caught on camera.
Inmate Rickeem Parker triggered the altercation after he “became aggressive” and threw a desk to the floor inside the Robert N. Davoren Center on Oct. 5 at 8 a.m., according to the Correction Department’s internal report.
Correction Officer Bronoski Jean-Philippe punched Parker in the face inside the housing facility at the start of the surveillance video posted on a Facebook group operated by a retired jail supervisor.
After a 10-second scuffle, Parker then hikes up his pants and steps back to gain momentum. Parker uses that charge to grab Jean-Phillippe by the waist and toss him to the floor.
Parker, who was in Rikers facing unknown charges, pummels Jean-Phillippe in the face as he struggles to get up.
After six punches to the face, Jean-Phillippe pulls himself up and desperately tries to bring down Parker.
One inmate is spotted on camera casually walking past as the fight moves into a corridor. That’s where Parker then tossed an empty plastic garbage can at Jean-Phillippe.
A Correction Department spokesman said Parker was placed in “restrictive housing” after the brawl, and is no longer in city custody.
It is unclear why other officers in the area did not rush to assist Jean-Phillippe.
“We are using every tool possible to help officers do their jobs in a secure environment,” Correction Department spokesman Jason Kersten said. “Thankfully, our officer was not seriously injured.”
The union representing jail officers declined to name the officer involved or detail why he was punching the inmate at the start of the fight. Officers are instructed to avoid hits to the head unless absolutely necessary.
“Building four new jails is not going to reduce violence as long as correction officers remain outnumbered and without the tools they need to maintain law and order,” said Elias Husamudeen, president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association.
He argued the department should “lower the inmate-to-officer ratio units inside the jails, even while hiring more correction officers.”
There is an approximately 1-1 inmate-to-officer ratio.
But the officers must fill three shifts each day and there are some out sick or due to injury.
The average daily inmate population dropped to 8,897 last fiscal year, the lowest in years.
The de Blasio administration has struggled to stem violence in city jails despite millions added to the department’s budget for added officers and rehab programs for inmates.
Jail staff were involved in 550 uses of force against detainees in January, the highest total in years, according to an independent monitor overseeing the department.