Rikers Island inmate steals correction officer’s cell key, slashes rival: sources

By: 
GRAHAM RAYMAN | NY DAILY NEWS

A Rikers Island correction officer was ambushed Thursday by an inmate who badly beat him before stealing his keys to slash a rival in a neighboring cell, the Daily News has learned.

The correction officer, whose name was not disclosed, suffered an ugly gash to his face and other cuts and bruises after detainee Luis Rivera allegedly attacked him about 4:30 p.m. in the North Infirmary Command, sources said.

The injured officer was the only one walking the unit that holds inmates classified as security risks, correction officers’ union sources said, when there should have been two officers in the unit. City jails are reeling from a wave of correction officers calling in sick, leaving lockups dangerously shorthanded.

“If there were two officers, this could have been prevented,” a source said.

Rivera lured the correction officer into his cell by asking that a garbage can be emptied, sources said. Rivera then allegedly attacked the officer, snatching his pepper spray and cell key. The officer fought back, punching Rivera in the chest and trying to stop him from opening the cell of another detainee, Brighton Montgomery, sources said.

But Rivera pepper sprayed the correction officer and opened the cell, according to sources.

The duo then opened the cell of a rival, Erianny Fermin, and attacked, sources said. Fermin, 20, suffered slash wounds to his chest and puncture wounds in his arms.

More correction officers arrived, sparking a brawl. Rivera allegedly sprayed two officers with the stolen pepper spray. Finally, members of a Department of Correction unit specializing in jail disturbances quelled the fight.

The officer was treated for his injuries at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Sources linked Rivera and Montgomery to the Crips gang. Both are said to have extensive disciplinary histories at Rikers. Attorneys for both men did not respond to inquiries.

Jason Kersten, a DOC spokesman, said the two attackers had been rearrested.

“We will assist the Bronx DA with prosecution,” he said. “Assaulting people is as much a crime in jail as it is on the streets and we are working every day to make our jails a safer and healthier environment.”

Rivera is being held on Bronx murder and weapons charges. About a year ago, he punched another officer in the face, knocking out several teeth, sources said. His disciplinary record shows some three dozen infractions for fighting, attacking staff, and other misconduct, sources said. He has been housed in eight different jails during his stint on Rikers.

Montgomery, 20, was one of two men arrested in January 2019 for a fatal stabbing outside an Upper West Side pizzeria. His record also shows a series of fights, disorderly conduct and gang activity, sources said.

 

Benny Boscio, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, said the assault is another example of why punitive segregation for violent detainees is necessary.

“This heinous, unprovoked attack on our correction officer comes at a time when Mayor de Blasio is eliminating our ability to remove violent inmates from general population,” Boscio said in a statement.

“It’s no wonder our officers continue to leave this agency in droves because the mayor continues to put our lives in jeopardy every day.”

Legislators at the city and state level are pushing to end punitive segregation, which is more commonly known as solitary confinement. In June, the Board of Correction voted to halt the practice, though advocates have said the plan doesn’t go far enough.