Two Rikers Island guards have pled guilty to felony assault charges for running a violent "Fight Club" like enforcement system that pitted gang members against inmates and resulted in the death of one 18-year-old prisoner. 33-year-old Michael McKie is expected to receive a two year sentence in January, while 37-year-old Khalid Nelson will receive one year. Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Hearn said in a release that the two guards "fittingly…face prison sentences themselves. As inmates, they will appreciate the importance of Corrections Officers' maintaining integrity and safety in the City jails."
Christopher Robinson was beaten to death in October 2008 for refusing to participate in "The Program," a system whereby inmates turned over some of their money in the commissary along with phone privileges to the gang members (mostly Bloods) and other inmates who were "foot soldiers" and "enforcers."
A total of five guards have pled guilty so far, and charges are pending against another. McKie and Nelson were viewed as the ringleaders of "The Program." Bronx DA James Goward said that the guards system of violence and intimidation "turned jail into almost a nightmare environment."