Rikers Inmate Found Dead In Cell After Suspected Overdose

NEW YORK (CBS NewYork/AP) — Richard Gonzalez, a Rikers Island inmate with a long history of drug-related arrests, was found dead in his holding pen Wednesday morning.

A city official said the 45-year-old inmate died of a suspected drug overdose. A medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death.

Gonzalez was arrested on Oct. 13 on misdemeanor criminal trespass and drug possession charges. His bail was set at $4,000.

According to city records, Gonzalez was arrested 26 times since 1986.

The quality of medical care at Rikers Island was put under the spotlight  last year when an investigation found that medical treatment — or lack of — was a factor in at least 15 inmate deaths over the last few years.

More recently, Former Department of Correction Captain Terrence Pendergrass was handed a 5-year prison sentence in June for violating the civil rights of inmate Jason Echevarria, who died after swallowing a ball of toxic detergent while in solitary confinement in 2012.

City officials were unable to comment on the ongoing investigation at this time.

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