Former Department of Correction Security Chief Receives 6 ½ Years in Prison, Captain Gets 5 ½ Years in Beating of Inmate Who Glared at Chief
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that eight New York City Department of Correction Officers—including a former DOC security chief—have been sentenced for their roles in assaulting an inmate and attempting to cover up the beating in a Rikers Island jail.
District Attorney Clark said, “I hope these sentences will deter those who think a uniform and a badge gives them license to brutalize inmates or cover for officers who do. A security chief and a captain received 6 ½ and 5 ½ years respectively, proving that neither rank nor position will protect you from prosecution. These Correction Officers must now pay the price, as will anyone who commits a crime of violence or corruption on Rikers Island.”
District Attorney Clark said Eliseo Perez Jr., former Assistant Chief for Security who ordered the beating of Jahmal Lightfoot, was sentenced to 6½ years in prison and three years post-release supervision, and Captain Gerald Vaughn was sentenced to 5½ years in prison and three years post-release supervision. Correction Officers Alfred Rivera, Tobias Parker, David Rodriguez and Jose Parra were sentenced to 4½ years in prison and 2 ½ years post-release supervision.
District Attorney Clark said that the defendants were convicted in June after a 12- week trial before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett of first-degree Attempted Gang Assault, first-degree Attempted Assault, second-degree Assault, first-degree Falsifying Business Records, and Official Misconduct. Rivera, Parker, Rodriguez, and Parra, were also found guilty of first-degree Offering a False Instrument for Filing, and Vaughn was also convicted of first-degree Offering a False Instrument for Filing and Official Misconduct.
Correction Officers Harmon Frierson and Dwayne Maynard, convicted of Official Misconduct, a Class A Misdemeanor, were sentenced to one-year Conditional Discharge and 500 hours of community service.
According to trial testimony, on July 11, 2012, Perez, while overseeing an institutional search of the jail, ordered members of the Emergency Services Unit to assault inmate Jahmal Lightfoot in the intake area at the George R. Vierno Center.
According to testimony, after Lightfoot locked eyes with him, Perez said, “This guy thinks he’s tough; when you get him to the intake area, take him to the Intake Search Pen and knock his ------ teeth out.”
Minutes later, Rivera, Parker, Parra, and Rodriguez carried out the order in the Intake Search Pen, which was covered with a sheet and had no video surveillance cameras. An officer held down Lightfoot’s arms, another held down his legs and the other three kicked Lightfoot in the face with their boots about a dozen times, causing fractures to both of his eye sockets and other facial bones. While the beating was taking place, Perez, Vaughn, Frierson, and Maynard stood guard directly outside the search pen.
The defendants were convicted of falsifying their DOC Use of Force Reports. They had claimed that Lightfoot had attacked Rivera with a sharpened piece of metal and they used force to restrain Lightfoot. Frierson and Maynard, who did not participate in the beating, were found guilty of Official Misconduct for making false entries in their reports to conceal the commission of the crime.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Lawrence Piergrossi, now Deputy Chief of Trial Bureau 50; Pishoy Yacoub, now Deputy Director of the Litigation Training Unit; and Raymond Valerio, Director of DNA prosecutions. They had tried the case as assistants in the Public Integrity Bureau.