Witnesses claim that a corrections officer got into a shouting match with a visitor at Rikers Island yesterday, then beat him to a pulp and arrested him. Which leads us to one simple rule for guards: if you feel that you absolutely must assault a visitor at Rikers, try not to do it in front of a Daily News reporter.
The News claims that one of their reporters witnessed the beatdown. According to an eye witness at the scene, a 49-year-old man wanted to put money in an inmate's account, but became frustrated trying to do so at the help desk. An officer from Gate 5 approached him, and the two got into a verbal argument. "The [visitor] didn't swing first. He was just upset. He was just expressing his anger," the eyewitness, a woman who was in the room waiting to visit her boyfriend, told the News. "The C.O. was getting nastier and nastier. I saw him getting closer and closer. Then the C.O. said something and then looked at him and started swinging at the guy. The C.O. kept hitting him. There was a lot of blood...He really went crazy on him for no reason."
According to Correction spokesman Stephen Morello, the visitor is not cooperating with investigators, was held in custody last night, and is expected to be slapped with assault charges. The officer was treated for his injuries, and was back on his job with bandages over his bloodied knuckles soon after the altercation. It's unclear where the Daily News reporter was in all this—it's understandable they don't want to enter the story, but it seems as though they are subtly corroborating the witness's side of things without explicitly saying so. But if the visitor really did lunge himself at the guard's knuckles with his body like the witness says, then this seems like a clear-cut case to us.