The family of Matthew Velez, a 17 year old who was fatally beaten while in a juvenile jail at Rikers in 2000, has accepted a $650,000 settlement with the city. Velez was being held there for a minor drug charge, but was attacked by members of the Bloods. Back in 2004, Newsday found that Rikers guards made "major errors...[that] contributed to Velez's beating and his subsequent death.":
As the teen was being beaten and stomped, the correction officer who was supposed to be patrolling the hallway every 15 minutes was watching a contraband horror movie with other inmates in a common room. The guard even shared a cigarette, unknowingly, with one of Velez's attackers. A second correction officer, stationed in a security bubble, was not watching the hallway.
At one point in the beating, Velez crawled into the hallway and cried out, only to be dragged back into the cell by the gang members.
Once Velez was discovered unconscious, jail officials didn't properly diagnose his injuries. They later claimed he had no obvious external injuries. But when Velez arrived at Elmhurst Hospital Center 90 minutes later, doctors immediately concluded he had been severely beaten.
Two men, Dale Milner and Randy Walton, were found guilty in Velez's death. And two correction officers were fired.
The city's Law Department said. "The city continues to express its condolences to the Velez family." Velez's brother Michael told Newsday, "There's no way to know whether he would have turned his life around when he got out. He knew he had to change."