“I think full accountability has to go beyond settling this case,” Greenberger said.
For human-rights advocates, Ballard’s shocking treatment symbolized the lawlessness of Rikers Island and the rampant civil-rights abuses besetting the administration of New York City’s then-mayor, Michael Bloomberg, whose lawyers had been in court defending racial profiling in the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program.
Griffin named New York City and its warden, guards, doctors and corrections officials as defendants in her lawsuit. She also sued Corizon, a Tennessee-based private contractor acting as the prison’s medical provider.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was not yet mayor at the time of Ballard’s death, declined to renew Corizon’s contract with Rikers in June 2015, and the public-sector NYC Health and Hospitals took over prison medical services at the beginning of this year.
On Tuesday, de Blasio’s administration reached what Griffin’s attorneys call a “historic settlement” for her son’s “unmatched suffering.”
“The settlement of this tragic case was fair and in the best interests of the city,” a New York City Law Department spokesman said.
De Blasio has since tapped a new correction commissioner: Joseph Ponte, who has promised to steer Rikers on a path of reform.
“Bradley Ballard’s death was a tragedy and our hearts go out to his family,” Ponte said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for the mistreatment of any inmate.”
Rikers Island has been subject to federal monitoring under a settlement between the de Blasio administration and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who famously compared its juvenile prison to the setting in “The Lord of the Flies.”
Though abuses inside the prison still continue, Ponte insists that the reforms underway are making a difference.
The vast majority of our officers carry out their duties with care and integrity, and we are taking many steps to ensure that all staff adhere to the highest professionalism. Our reforms of officer training include courses designed to prevent such cases.
Attorney Greenberger said that, while the settlement provides a “small measure of justice” to the family, officers involved in the incident still have jobs, and she does not know of any that faced “significant salary consequences.”
At least two of the officers, however, have received promotions.
Turhan Gumusdere, a warden at Ballard’s prison named in an amended complaint, became a bureau chief in February this year.
John Gallagher, a deputy warden at the same prison, received a promotion to deputy warden-in-command in Feb. 2015.
Greenberger was not so sure Rikers reform would prevent future cases like Ballard’s.
“I certainly hope that a case of this outrageous magnitude could never happen again,” she said.
Here’s what social networks say about this:
Babs Smith See white people do you still thing we are delusional? Still don’t see color? Still thinks we make everything about race like you like to say victims alway the color you all claim not to see BLACK!
Maria Marsyla This is soo wrong, these Cops need to be Charged with murder, thus man was mentality I’ll too, the Cops should not be so quick to get a fended, cause after all God knows Cops Cruse you or any other Citizens, but for these cops to Torcher, this guy, No Not Exception at all.
These Cops are and we’re wrong, if a Female Cop Can’t take insult from a prisoner, and feels she or her buddy Cops must beat or kill a prisoner, then she and they are in the wrong profession. It’s murder any way you look at it. I’m going to keep up with this one to see what happens to these Cops.
Regan Babooram Sadly this is one of the reasons I’ve stayed off fb for the pass few months. The law should now be any pig involved in any abuse of authority and causing the death of those they should be protecting should be shipped of with the Army to a combat zone to clear IEDs.
Bobby Brown Yall poor excuses of men need to STOP giving thes bitches power! The Freemasons already infuriated the police force its bad enough that they eat babies behind close doors and in open doors exsesify the law. Fuck that bitch and fuck the Illuminati police state!
Jim Hernandez He is deceased. What more is there? The guards are not judge and jury and executioner. The punishment is jail.