Jahmal Lightfoot, the Rikers Island inmate who was ruthlessly beaten by officers at the facility, has won a multi-million-dollar settlement stemming from the 2012 attack.
The civil lawsuit against the correctional officers at the New York prison was settled for $3.9 million in March according to a Tuesday, April 3 report from the New York Daily News.
Lightfoot suffered from two broken eye sockets and a fractured nose as a result of the attack ordered by Eliseo Perez Jr., which was to serve as a lesson to other inmates following stabbings. The 33-year-old had been awaiting sentencing for a robbery conviction at the time.
Six officers — including Perez Jr., David Rodriguez, Tobias Parker, Jose Parra and Alfred Rivera along with ex-Capt. Gerald Vaughn — were convicted in 2016 of charges including first-degree attempted gang assault following a three-month trial at Bronx Supreme Court. The sentencing took into account the attack on Lightfoot along with fabricating evidence that led to a contraband charge for Lightfoot.
Additionally, testimony during the trial revealed Vaughn told his comrades that he wanted to see the victim’s “teeth on the floor.”
Despite the officers serving time in upstate prison and the new settlement, Lightfoot still deals with the trauma of his assault.
“When I see any police officer or a person in a uniform in the street, I get nervous,” he told the Daily News.
He added that he wants “all the officers — correction and police — to know they cannot beat on people and think you can get away with it, it’s not right . . . I could have lost my own life.”
“I just want people to know there’s going to be consequences for officers doing these things to people, and I hope this has an impact,” he said.
In 2017, after numerous reports of unethical actions against inmates at the hands of correctional officers, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a 10-year-plan to close Rikers Island for good.
Still, Lightfoot’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, told the New York-based publication that “the culture of violence that has existed at Rikers” should be addressed so that it “will not simply be transferred to other jail facilities in the city.”