Newly surfaced video shows how a ‘fight night’ unfolded within an empty cell in Rikers Island as guards in the sparsely-staffed unit refuse to step in, with a judge eventually releasing a man who was attacked because the jail failed to protect him.
The October 19 altercation in cell 15 at the George R. Vierno Center, an 850-bed jail on Rikers in New York City, was caught on surveillance video and published by The New York Times.
Inmates crowd around a cell as Bacalao, a leader from the Dominican gang Trinitarios, orders different men to fight each other.
Other videos from the jail show inmates holding makeshift weapons and throwing things at a detainee hiding behind a corrections officer – just a sliver of the chaos that has gripped New York’s largest pre-trial jail as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens staffing shortages.
One of the men who was ordered to fight is a former member of the Crips gang identified in court records as Relator G.