NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Rikers Island correction officer is facing multiple charges after police say he beat a man in Queens while off duty.
The victim spoke with CBS2’s Reena Roy as he recovers in the hospital.
“They fractured my cheek above my eye, and there’s few bones in there,” Steven Guerreri said. “Everything hurts, I can’t even chew my food.”
The 34-year-old called it a brutal attack.
“He grabbed my throat and he just pushed me,” he said. “The next thing I know, I was in an ambulance. I was blacked out after the beating.”
Police said off-duty correction officer Raynaldo Persad, 40, lost it when Guerreri rear-ended his car around 1:30 a.m. Sunday on Linden Boulevard in Ozone Park.
“I accidentally hit them from the back, because it was a dark street. Came out to see what happened. All of a sudden, he just grabbed me. One guy just choked me,” said Guerreri.
Investigators said Persand and three others punched the victim in the face repeatedly. A witness called 911.
Police used a Taser on Persand and cuffed him, saying he failed his arms to avoid arrest.
“Someone called 911. If police didn’t arrive, he would be dead right now,” Guerreri’s father, Steven Sr., said.
The New York City Department of Corrections said Persand has been stationed on Rikers Island since 2007. He’s now charged with assault and resisting arrest.
Guerreri will undergo facial reconstruction surgery in the next few days.
In the meantime, the DOC said Persand is suspended and a full investigation is underway. It’s unclear whether police are still looking for the other three people involved.