Protesters rally outside City Hall in wake of Rikers inmate death
Protesters took to the streets outside City Hall to express outrage over the death of Michael Nieves on Thursday. Rally participants showed up to voice their concerns about Rikers Island yet again, as this death marks the 13th death in Rikers this year.
"It’s unacceptable. And it’s at a point now where we can’t ignore or we can’t just wait and say it could get better because it hasn’t," said Dr. Victoria Phillips, one of the organizers for the Thursday rally. "It hasn’t gotten better at all. Each and every life lost is a heartbeat that doesn’t beat anymore."
Nieves died after he slit his own throat with a razor while at Rikers Island. Protesters say corrections officers failed to address his injuries for over 10 minutes, which has elicited criticism from activists.
The city's Department of Corrections has not yet released a cause of death. Advocates ended the rally with a moment of silence for the lives lost, followed by a reading of the 13 victims' names who died in Rikers Island custody this year.
Ralliers are now supporting a new bill that would end the practice of solitary confinement, one of the things Rikers has been criticized for doing for years.
The Department of Corrections says it has ended a number of segregations reform by still rely on enhanced supervision housing for violent inmates for safety purposes.
Organizers believe more must be done to protect those in Department of Correction custody and are demanding leaders be held accountable.