A 25-year-old former Rikers inmate is suing the city after he was allegedly beaten and sodomized by a correction officer this summer.
According to the Daily News, Bishme Ayers was recovering from a seizure at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx on July 4 when he was attacked by the apparently drunk correction officer, who first told Ayers he was going to make him "his bitch" before launching a violent assault.
“He starts punching me. ... My right arm was handcuffed to the railing, so he got a white sheet and tied my left arm to my right arm, so my arm was across my face," Ayers told the tabloid. "Then he started beating me up with the (baton) on my lower body, my legs. Then all of a sudden he shoved something in my rectum."
Ayers suspects the attack came as payback for an incident that occurred during a stint he served at Rikers in 2008, during which he was allegedly beaten by guards for complaining about living conditions and visitation rights. Ayers filed a lawsuit and ultimately won a $10,000 settlement, something he thinks embittered correction officers were not apt to forget.
Gruesome reports from Rikers have emerged with alarming frequency over the past few months, revealing everything from botched numbers regarding the frequency of fights among teenage inmates to the tragic, horrifying death of Bradley Ballard, a mentally ill inmate who was tossed in solitary and denied medical attention. In September, the New Yorker published a shocking story about a teenager who was jailed for three years at Rikers on a flimsy robbery charge that was later dismissed.
Meanwhile, two top level Rikers officials—William Clemons and Turhan Gumusdere—were recently awarded promotions on the basis that they have "shown exemplary leadership in the current roles."
During a City Council hearing earlier this month, Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte was taken to task for the "deep-seated" culture of violence thriving at the jail. Clemons, who currently enjoys the highest ranking uniformed position in the department, was not present to respond to allegations: He was away on "a long-planned vacation."