13th Rikers Island inmate dies, 3 Department of Correction staff suspended
NEW YORK - An investigation is underway after the death of the 13th inmate on Rikers Island so far this year.
The Department of Correction confirmed the death of Michael Nieves, 40, at Elmhurst Hospital.
Nieves was being held on burglary, arson, and other charges and was found mentally unfit for trial on multiple occasions.
Last week, he slit his throat with a razor, but two corrections officers and a captain reportedly failed to act for at least 10 minutes as Nieves bled out.
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"Can you imagine the story if this were the first time that some officer stood by and watched as someone was dying?" said New York City Public Advocate Jumanne Williams. "And it's not the second time. Unacceptable is just not the word."
Nieves was taken off life support on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday the Department of Corrections has suspended the two corrections officers and the captain, pending an investigation.
"A preliminary review of this incident required we take immediate action and suspend three uniform staff members. Any death in custody is a tragedy and we will be investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident," DoC Commissioner Louis Molina said in a statement to FOX 5 NY.
RELATED: For nearly 8 minutes, Rikers Island guards ignored inmate who hanged himself, DA says
Last month, four corrections officers from Rikers Island, including a captain, were arrested and charged for failing to intervene when 18-year-old Nicholas Feliciano attempted suicide by hanging himself.
Feliciano sustained traumatic brain injuries due to a lack of oxygen.
Rikers Island has come under immense scrutiny over violence, drugs and corruption at the jail.