After a prisoner reportedly hanged himself in his cell Sunday night at the 90th Precinct stationhouse using the drawstring from his shorts, an NYPD sergeant and an officer have been suspended. The prisoner, James Peterson, 46, had been arrested two hours earlier after allegedly punching and choking his girlfriend inside the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn. NYPD policy prohibits officers leaving prisoners unattended; they're also required to take away belts, shoelaces, and anything that could potentially be used for suicide.

According to the Times, Officer John Wai was responsible for watching over Mr. Peterson, but the NYPD says he was in the bathroom when Peterson hung himself in the holding cell. Officer Wai’s supervisor, Sgt. Ercan Aydin, found the body hanging from the side of the cell. Both officers have been suspended without pay pending an investigation. But Peterson's sister Crystal says her family doesn't believe Peterson took his own life, because he was an "outgoing" father of four. (He also had 14 prior arrests, the Post reports.)

In these situations, it's always instructive to check out NYPD Rant to see what some of the anonymous cops on the message board have to say. One ranter opines, "We should hang a noose in every cell and let them do society the favor themselves. I've told many perps they should just commit suicide... especially the life long drug addled ones." And another ranter who claims to be a cop shared this anecdote about a similar experience:

A few years back we had a perp try to hang himself in the Arrest process room. The anti-crime team put a perp in the cell and didn't keep an eye on him. My partner and I walked by the cell and saw the guy hanging by his t-shirt on the cell door. We ran inside to get to him, but the A/C team still had the cell key ( that wasn't our sharpest A/C team ). Finally we get inside and lift the perp up while he is hanging and he's still alive. We cut him down and once we saw he was OK we slapped the @!%+ out of him for causing us problems. The Desk Officer was pissed, but nobody took a hit, but the A/C team did a lot of foot posts in the cold weather for a while.