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DA: 10 Correction Officers Indicted For Beating Of Rikers Inmate, Cover Up

Union President Calls Charges A Witch Hunt
A view of buildings on Rikers Island penitentiary complex (file/credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

A view of buildings on Rikers Island penitentiary complex (file/credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Ten Department of Correction officers have been indicted in connection with a gang assault of an inmate at Rikers Island and the subsequent cover-up, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

One by one, seven corrections officers and three supervisors entered a plea of not guilty to the 53-count indictment in the beating of Jamal Lightfoot.

The indictments were announced by Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson.

Prosecutors said former DOC assistant chief Eliseo Perez, the third highest ranking officer in the department, allegedly gave the order to kick the prisoner’s teeth in.

Five Emergency Service Unit officers then carried out that attack, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Lightfoot suffered broken bones in his face following the attack.

Corrections union president Norman Seabrook called the beating self-defense.

“You would use whatever force is necessary to terminate the incident,” Seabrook told reporters.

The defendants said the inmate had a blade and slashed one officer across the arm. But prosecutors allege that blade was planted on Lightfoot.

Seabrook called the charges of attempted gang assault against seven of the officers a witch hunt.

“Why is it that you have to parade correction officers in front of these cameras and make believe that you did something?” Seabrook said. “This will be another day for the district attorney to stand on television and talk about how he’s targeting law enforcement officers, when he should be targeting the people that are shooting and killing these kids in the streets of New York.”

All of the officers were charged in the cover-up of the attack, according to the indictment. Those charges carry a punishment of up to four years in prison.

The corrections officials were all granted bail or released on their own recognizance, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

The attempted gang assault charge carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

The indictment was the result of an 11-month investigation into the attack, prosecutors said.

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