An incarcerated man who jumped from a jail barge on the East River on Tuesday died nearly 12 hours later from injuries he sustained in the apparent escape attempt, according to the New York City Department of Correction.
Gregory Acevedo, 48, climbed a high recreation yard fence at the top of the Vernon C. Bain Center Jail — a barge that sits off Hunts Point in the Bronx and is commonly known as “the boat.” Sources familiar with the facility say Acevedo, who is listed in correction documents as just 110 pounds, would have had to navigate razor wire before leaping into the river, where medics from the FDNY rescued him.
Acevedo was then hospitalized in Queens, and pronounced dead just before 11 p.m. Tuesday. Acevedo is the 15th person to die in city custody or shortly after being released this year. Sixteen died last year.
“Mr. Acevedo’s tragic passing is an immense loss,” said Louis Molina, commissioner of the city's Department of Correction, in a statement. “We are conducting a preliminary investigation of this incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones at this difficult time.”
Acevedo was awaiting trial on a robbery charge. If he had been convicted, that charge would also have violated his parole from a previous criminal conviction.
This is the ninth escape from city correctional facilities since the 2018 fiscal year, according to city data. There were three last year alone, including a man who also jumped into the East River but was later found alive.
Acevedo’s death gave fodder to critics who see the jails system as a humanitarian crisis in need of federal intervention through having its operations taken over by a receiver.
The Department of Correction has implemented an “action plan” to improve conditions, but the latest data shows skyrocketing levels of violence, weapons, and critical injuries. A federal judge will review the progress of the action plan in November, and could then consider motions to appoint a federal receiver.
“There’s no reason to wait until November to make this decision,” said DeRay McKesson, executive director of the activist group Campaign Zero, in a statement. “The hearing date should be moved up, and a federal receiver should be appointed immediately. This department cannot fix itself.”
Correction: An earlier version of the story misstated the day Gregory Acevedo died. He died on Tuesday.