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7 staff members suspended after elderly man dies at Rikers

(GOTHAMIST) Matt Katz, February 19, 2023

Seven city staffers at Rikers Island were suspended in connection with the death of a 65-year-old incarcerated man earlier this month, Gothamist has learned.

A preliminary death report from the Board of Correction oversight agency, obtained via public records request, indicates that two assistant deputy wardens, a captain, two correction officers and two nurses were suspended in the wake of Marvin Pines’ death on Feb. 4.

The city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is yet to make a ruling on the cause of Pines’ death. But he suffered a seizure in the shower before his death, his attorney said.

According to the death report, Pines was sick for more than an hour in the bathroom, but no officers had checked on him. It continued by stating that one officer was penalized for leaving an assigned post at 2 a.m. without being relieved and that the unit lacked a second required officer until 3:20 a.m.

The officer who eventually arrived was suspended for not properly touring the housing area, according to the report, notably because the officer did not conduct an inspection of the bathroom for the first two hours on duty.

Another incarcerated person first found Pines unresponsive in the bathroom at about 4:30 a.m, according to the death report. Fifteen minutes later, that man saw Pines “shaking, trembling and breathing heavy” in the same place, and notified officers. Officers then gave Pines the opioid counteractive drug Narcan, twice. Pines was pronounced dead at 6:18 a.m.

Read More: Gothamist