New York City settles case of inmate killed by guards for $2.75 million
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit regarding the death of a prisoner at a city jail whose death was ruled a homicide, the New York Times reported on Monday.
Ronald Spear, 52, who died in December 2012, had been in a dispute with the city’s Rikers Island jail over medical care he was seeking while incarcerated, and his family claimed his death was retribution for his complaints, the Times said.
The settlement is one of the largest paid recently by the city to settle cases claiming violence against an inmate, the Times said.
Spear was housed at a jail infirmary, where he was seeking treatment for kidney disease and needed dialysis, according to the lawsuit filed by his family. He walked with a cane, the Times said.
Arrested in September 2012 as a suspect in a burglary, Spear filed a lawsuit of his own in December of that year claiming he had been denied medication and was in severe pain.
In his lawsuit, he said he had contacted the Legal Aid Society and that correction officers were retaliating against him.
He died about two weeks later, the Times said.
The family lawsuit cited inmate witnesses who said Spear had been kicked in the face and chest by one correction officer while he was pinned down by two other officers, it said.
The city medical examiner ruled the death was a homicide, the Times said. The medical examiner’s report said the cause of death was hypertensive cardiovascular disease but that blunt-force trauma to the head was a contributing cause.
One officer has been fired and others were facing disciplinary charges, the Times said, citing a spokesman for the Department of Correction.
The Times said the city does not admit fault in the settlement document, which was expected to be filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Susan Heavey)
[Hand in jail on Shutterstock]