Bronx DA: Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark Announces Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau Has Indicted 37 Cases


Seven Defendants Charged with Scalding Inmate with Hot Water;

Others Indicted for Attacks Spanning Six Months


             Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that seven inmates on Rikers Island have been indicted for first-degree Assault, first-degree Gang Assault and other charges for beating and pouring scalding water on another inmate. The case is one of 37 indictments brought since the Grand Jury re-convened last winter charging brutal attacks in the jail spanning the past six months.


District Attorney Clark said, “These defendants allegedly have caused numerous acts of violence on both their fellow detainees and correction officers. One particularly cruel act was seven inmates allegedly overwhelmed an officer, then stomped and punched another detainee. One defendant allegedly poured boiling water on the victim, causing skin on his face, head and arms to burn away. Fortunately, he survived and is recovering.


“We are holding violent people accountable for beatings, slashings and rape. No one who is at Rikers Island should be subject to such degradation, harm and fear. But we cannot prosecute our way out of this. There must be administrative tools for swift and certain punishment, and there must be adequate staff to ensure safety. We will continue to work with our partners at the Department of Correction to address the violence.”


New York City Department of Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said, “These indictments send a clear message that if you commit violence in our jails, you will be held accountable, just as you would on the streets. I’d like to thank DA Clark, who I have been working closely with to expedite the prosecution of assaultive incarcerated individuals, a promise I made when I came on as commissioner. I’d also like to thank the hardworking members of our Correction Intelligence Bureau, who work around the clock to investigate crimes committed in our facilities as part of our comprehensive efforts to keep everyone safe.”


            District Attorney Clark said the seven defendants—Trequan Campbell, Jeremiah Melendez, Kevin Faneus, Jhoan Green, Jamik Johnson, Luis Rivera and Jalen White—were indicted on charges of first-degree Assault, Attempted Assault in the first degree, first and second-degree Gang Assault, second-degree Assault, Promoting Prison Contraband, Unlawful Imprisonment, third-degree Assault, and fourth-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon. Green and Johnson were arraigned today before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Lester Adler. Bail was set at $200,000 cash/$250,000 bond for Green and remand was continued for Johnson.  They are due back in court on October 22, 2021. The other defendants are awaiting arraignment.


          According to the investigation, on June 23, 2021, at approximately 2:32 p.m. in Housing Area 6 Lower, Robert N. Davoren Center (RNDC) of Rikers Island, the defendants entered the housing area pantry, overwhelmed a  Correction Officer and then entered the housing area dayroom where they damaged property, including the television, and then stomped and punched an inmate. Defendant Rivera allegedly grabbed a large hot water pot from the wall and poured boiling water on the victim. Blood was observed on the detainee’s shirt and on the floor. The victim suffered second-degree burns on over 20 percent of his body. 


          Since Grand Juries re-convened in late February/March of 2021, the Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau has indicted 37 cases involving assaults on staff as well as assaults by detainees on detainees.  The majority of the cases were brought to the bureau by Department of Correction’s Correction Intelligence Bureau as investigations. There are currently approximately 268 open investigations.


Some of the cases:


           On June 11, 2021, inside the Anna M. Kross Center (AMKC), a DOC Captain was escorting inmate Sebastian Pessoa to the clinic. At approximately 9:57 p.m., Pessoa allegedly grabbed the Captain from behind and used his arm to squeeze the Captain’s neck, then dropped him to the ground and took his “OC” spray from his body and sprayed him and other officers who arrived. The Captain slipped on the spray that was on the ground and suffered pain to his neck, back and leg. Pessoa was indicted on second-degree Robbery, second-degree Assault, Obstructing Governmental Administration and Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation.


On May 27, 2021, at approximately 9:05 a.m. in the Otis Bantum Correctional Center, inmate Durel Bonilla approached a Correction Officer and allegedly punched him in the face, knocking him to the floor, and kicked him in the face and then punched him several times more in the face and body.  The officer suffered a head contusion.  Bonilla was indicted on second-degree Assault, third-degree Assault, Obstructing Governmental Administration and Harassment.


On April 27, 2021, at approximately 8:08 p.m. in AMKC, inmate Felix Aponte approached a Correction Officer and punched him in the head, knocking him to the floor. The officer tried to stand up but fell to the floor due to dizziness and pain. He suffered a contusion and sustained swelling and pain to his head and body. Aponte was indicted on second-degree Assault, third-degree Assault, Obstructing Governmental Administration and Harassment.


On June 9, 2021, at approximately 10:56 a.m. in AMKC, inmate Zaki Smith allegedly approached a Correction Officer in a threatening manner and refused verbal commands to step back. Smith continued to advance toward the officer who deployed her OC spray as she ran towards the exit. Smith allegedly chased her and when she fell to the ground, Smith struck her about the face, several times, with both fists. The officer suffered several lacerations to the forehead, which required stiches, as well as a swollen nose and swollen eye sockets. Smith was indicted on second-degree Assault, third-degree Assault, Obstructing Governmental Administration and Harassment.


On February 8, 2021 in the Rose M. Singer Correctional Center, transgender inmate Ramel Blount raped a female inmate in the bathroom. The inmate reported the matter a few hours later and was brought to a local hospital where a rape kit was administered, which resulted in a DNA match to Blount. Blount was indicted on first-degree Rape, Sexual Misconduct, first-degree Sexual Abuse and Forcible Touching.


          On March 10, 2021, in the George R. Vierno Center, inmate Devontea Reid allegedly punched a Correction Captain in her face, causing her to suffer a concussion.  He was indicted on second-degree Assault, third-degree Assault, Obstructing Governmental Administration and Harassment. He has an existing indictment for second-degree Assault from an incident on October 1, 2020, where he acted in concert with two other individuals to attack an officer.  


          The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Jeffrey Davis, Nadia Alirahi, Larry Pisahov, Georganne Ladis, Neha Khan, Meredith Masciotti  and Senior Investigative ADA Lisa Mattaway, all of the Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau; and Senior Investigative ADA Sheryl Konigsberg of the Economic Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Francis Alberts, Chief of the Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau, and under the overall supervision of Tarek Rahman, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and Wanda Perez-Maldonado, Chief of the Investigations Division. District Attorney Clark thanked Trial Preparation Assistant Niurka Crespo and Bronx DA Detective Investigator Tashana Phelps for their assistance.


          District Attorney Clark thanked the DOC Correction Intelligence Bureau for their work in the investigations.



An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

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