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Terminated correction officer blames boss for inmate's death

A correctional department officer working on Rikers Island claims that he was unjustly let go following the death of an inmate. He has filed a lawsuit charging his boss with negligence, alleging the inmate had swallowed some bleach and that authorities denied him medical attention.

The officer claims this was common procedure for his boss, who had the habit of telling him he could not be bothered with sick inmates and should only be contacted if one of them died. The worker claims he was wrongly terminated and wants to be reinstated. The sick inmate who swallowed the chemical later died.

The 25-year-old prisoner had been on Rikers Island waiting for his trial on charges of burglary. He had been in isolation for the mentally ill when he swallowed the bleach. Authorities are calling his death a suicide, but the coroner disagrees, calling it a homicide since he had been denied medical care following the incident.

The district attorney has investigated the case and alleges there was insufficient evidence to suspect criminal liability. No criminal charges have been filed in conjunction with the inmate's death. The decedent's father has filed a $20 million wrongful death suit against the city, expressing shock and suspicion that the prosecutors had not filed charges.

The fired worker alleges that he discovered the young man in medical distress during his evening shift. He asked for help from his supervisor but was ordered to not contact the medical officials in the prison unless the man died. He was told this a second time when he passed by to check on the inmate. Another staff member on rounds later reported similar concerns but was again told by his supervisor to refrain from seeking medical help for the man.

The worker was terminated due to his alleged misconduct involving the inmate's death. The father of the boy who ingested the bleach has protested the worker's dismissal and is outraged the supervisor is still working at the facility. The young man's father hopes the Bronx district attorney's office will reconsider its position on criminal charges. City officials have stated the supervisor has since been demoted with a reduced salary.

People get fired all the time for the wrong reasons. In order to protect oneself from wrongful termination, it would be wise to seek help from someone who can protect you and your rights at the workplace.

nydailynews.com, "Fired NYC Correction Officer blames boss for inmate's death, says he was told not to 'bother' him unless man was 'dead'" Barbara Ross, Nov. 08, 2013

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