City Agrees to Pay $28.7 Million in Settlement for Rikers Island Inmate’s Brain Damage

The city of New York has reached a settlement agreement to pay $28.7 million to the family of Nicholas Feliciano, an inmate at Rikers Island who suffered severe brain damage during a suicide attempt while under the watch of jail guards. Court records reveal that the incident, which occurred in November 2019, left Feliciano in need of lifelong care and led to criminal charges against four guards.

Pending the approval of a judge, this proposed settlement would rank among the largest payouts made by the city in a civil rights case. The New York Times was the first to report on the agreement. Feliciano, who was 18 years old at the time, had been sent to Rikers for an alleged parole violation. According to a report from the city’s Board of Correction and the subsequent lawsuit filed by his family in Manhattan Federal Court, Feliciano had a documented history of mental illness and suicide attempts.

Nine days after his arrival at Rikers, Feliciano attempted to hang himself from inside his cell using a garment hung on a hook from the ceiling. Allegedly, guards watched him dangle for seven minutes without taking any action, as stated in court documents filed by his family. Eventually, a jail captain who observed the incident on a surveillance camera intervened and cut him down from the makeshift noose.

Now 22 years old, Feliciano requires constant care and has limited vocal functions. He is unable to stand independently, feed himself, and suffers from short-term memory loss. His grandmother, Madeline Feliciano, expressed that the proposed settlement would help cover the costs associated with his lifetime of care. However, she acknowledged that it would not restore Nicholas to his former self, as he must live with this injury for the rest of his life.

Two of the guards involved in the incident pleaded guilty to official misconduct last year, while the remaining guards still face pending criminal cases. A spokesperson from the Law Department stated that the settlement was in the best interest of all parties involved, emphasizing the Department of Correction’s commitment to ensuring the safety of all individuals at Rikers, including those with serious mental illness.

According to the family’s lawyer, David B. Rankin, Feliciano had been attacked twice while at Rikers and should not have been placed in the general jail population due to his mental health issues. At the time of writing, Rankin could not be reached for comment.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. This settlement agreement is like a bittersweet bandage on a deep wound. It’s as if the city of New York is acknowledging their responsibility for the tragic incident at Rikers Island by offering financial compensation to the family of Nicholas Feliciano. However, no amount of money can truly heal the profound damage caused by the negligence of the jail guards. It’s a reminder that justice, like a bandage, can only provide some relief but cannot fully undo the pain and suffering endured by the Fel

  2. This settlement is a significant development in addressing the issue of inmate safety and the responsibility of jail guards. I would like to know more about the circumstances surrounding Nicholas Feliciano’s suicide attempt and how the jail guards failed to prevent it. Additionally, it would be interesting to understand what measures the city of New York plans to take to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

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