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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

NY State Inspector General Letter On Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Investigation - No Review Of Brutality Allegations, Investigation Limited To Arraignment Policies Of Hospitalized Patients

The NY State Inspector General not only released a report on corrupt practices taking place at the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) under a prior RIOC President and staff last week, but also issued a letter regarding the RIOC Public Safety Department under a previous RIOC President and staff.

Here's background regarding the Inspector General's Roosevelt Island Public Safety letter.

Reported February 5, 2013 that current Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Ben Kallos (at the time candidate for that seat in the Democratic Party Primary) sent the following letter to the NY State Inspector General calling for an investigation regarding brutality allegations brought against the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department. An excerpt of the letter from February 5 post:

... Yesterday, the Daily News in an article titled "So-called 'peace officers' on Roosevelt Island are being sued over savage beating of 20-year-old who claims he was just waiting in front of a building" reported that Roosevelt Island resident Anthony Jones suffered fractured ribs and a pierced lung in an 'unprovoked' attack without being charged with a crime at the hands of state employees and officers of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation's Public Safety Department.

Under New York State Executive Law Article 4-A the Public Safety Department and its employees are a part of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation which is a State entity under the jurisdiction of your office.

On behalf of Anthony Jones and the residents of Roosevelt Island, I am writing to request that the Office of the Inspector General investigate the incident alleged in this article as well as previous incidents relating to the conduct of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Public Safety Department.

We respectfully request that any resolution to your investigation include the implementation and ongoing support for a body comprised of residents of Roosevelt Island to oversee and review the conduct of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Public Safety Department....
Following the February 16, 2013 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Accountability/Brutality Demonstration, Mr. Kallos again called for an investigation of alleged brutality incidents by RIOC Public Safety Department.

On February 24, 2013, RIOC Director Howard Polivy reported to the Roosevelt Island community that Public Safety brutality allegations would be sent to the NY State Inspector General for review. According to Mr. Polivy:
... I am unable to comment on any particular incident, partially because RIOC has been served notice of claim, but also because I don’t have objective details. RIOC has referred recent incidents to the Inspector General of the State of NY for review. Once we receive the results of that review we’ll take such actions as we find necessary....
RIOC Dirctor Margie Smith said on February 28, 2013 that the brutality allegations presented to the RIOC Board will be forwarded to the NY State Inspector General for review.

On August 7, 2014, almost 18 months later, the Inspector General sent a letter to RIOC President Charlene Indelicato containing the results of its Roosevelt Island Public Safety investigation. However, the Inspector General's investigation  was not about brutality allegations brought against the RIOC Public Safety department, Instead the Inspector General's investigation was limited to:
... whether sufficient policies exist to ensure the timely arraignment of hospitalized prisoners in arrests made by RIOC Public Safety Department, and if so, whether these policies were followed in the Jones case...

Image Of Anthony Jones Handcuffed To Hospital Bed From Channel 7 News Video

Here's the Inspector General's letter to RIOC President Indelicato.

Here's full copy of the Inspector General's letter to RIOC President Indelicato.

I asked RIOC President Indelicato about the Inspector General's report. Ms. Indelicato replied:
RIOC  PSD has addressed the issue of timely arraignment of arrestees by additional training, and developing policies and procedures that will ensure the timely arraignment of hospitalized prisoners.
Also, note that the brutality allegations described occurred prior to the time current RIOC President Indelicato and Public Safety Department Director Jack McManus took their positions. The current RIOC Board members were all serving during this period of time.

Here's a Channel 7 January 30, 2013 video report about the Jones incident.

The lawsuit has reportedly been settled by RIOC and the Jones family. No details of the settlement have been publicly released.

UPDATE 11:45 PM - Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Chairperson Erin Feely-Nahem comments on the NY State Inspector General's Public Safety letter to RIOC President Indelicato:
The PSC will respond directly to the IG regarding this information.

We find it incomprehensible and unacceptable that the IG's letter focuses solely on the Anthony Jones incident in relation to PSD policies toward hospitalized detainees, rather than the clear pattern of abuse and misconduct of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department under the regime of Keith Guerra.

The PSC documented numerous cases of Island residents and visitors who were the recipients of unprovoked violence and unconstitutional policing over many years. These testimonies were forwarded to the IG office by the RIOC Board and Ben Kallos's office.

The posture taken in the IG letter criticizes the PSD for failing to properly arraign Anthony Jones, thereby jeopardizing a credible prosecution, rather than the false arrest and brutal mauling that almost took his life. The PSC registers our strong rejection of the narrow scope of the IG letter which ignores the victims of a dark period in Island history.

Island residents united in a struggle that led to Guerra's resignation. We will continue to fight for the record to be set straight.


heyj0e said...

nice work nypd esu

CheshireKitty said...

This drama occurred the day after Robin Williams committed suicide. I wonder if there was a "spike" in suicides in the days after Williams' death?