A Rikers Island correction officer was left with a fractured skull after being viciously beaten by an inmate – who later said ‘voices’ in his head told him to carry out the attack.
Marvens ‘Murda’ Thomas, 28, has been charged with attempted murder over Monday’s attack.
A criminal complaint filed on Tuesday alleges that the inmate knocked the officer to the ground while pummeling him with his fists before stomping on his head and stealing the guard’s pepper spray, according to The New York Post.
The guard was carried away on a stretcher with ‘substantial pain, soreness, bruising, and swelling, as well as a bleeding laceration that required 20 [stitches], 11 inside and 9 outside,’ according to the complaint filed in Bronx Criminal Court.
The complaint alleges that Thomas threatened the guard on Monday around 9 am saying, ‘I want a female officer. Get this dreadhead motherf****er off my floor or else.’
After the brutal attack in the prison’s George R. Vierno Center he told the beaten guard, ‘I warned you,’ prosecutors claim.
A corrections officer was brutally attacked by an inmate at Rikers Island on Monday. The officer fractured his skull and received 20 stitches (pictured)
Rikers Island inmate Marvens ‘Murda’ Thomas, 28, has been charged with attempted murder for the violent attack of the guard which he blamed on the voices in his head
The inmate claimed that his violence was due to a mental illness, and voices in his head.
In a statement he reportedly explained, ‘What happened in the morning happened because I have a mental illness. I hear voices in my head and I think that people are trying to hurt me.’
‘My family abandoned me. I want to be in a facility for my whole life where I can receive treatment and be with people like myself so we can understand each other.’
Thomas is now facing a felony attempted murder charge adding to his nine previous charges which include assault, robbery, larceny, obstruction governmental administration, and harassment, according to state records.
He was arrested in New York City on a felony assault charge on August 9 and was being held on a $150,000 bond.
Thomas is set to appear in court at 9 am on Friday where he will be represented by Attorney Alice Swenson.
The Department of Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi, who began his position in June, said in a statement, ‘Any assault on our staff is deplorable and absolutely unacceptable. We will work with the Bronx DA to hold the individual responsible accountable.’
Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA) President Benny Boscio released a statement blaming the attack and rising violence at Rikers Island on Mayor de Blasio.
The statement read: ‘Our Correction Officer, who was simply doing his job, was nearly killed by this heinous attack. The blood that shed from his wounds and the wounds of all our brave officers, who continue to be assaulted with impunity, are on the Mayor’s hands.’
‘He alone has the power to make our jails safer and his unwillingness to do so makes him criminally negligent for creating the conditions we face daily.’
This follows a long series of rising ‘disorder and chaos’ that have reportedly reached ‘unreasonably high’ levels, as stated in a letter filed in court on August 24 by Rikers Island Federal Monitor Steven J. Martin, according to The New York Times.
The letter allegedly describes several violent incidents including a detainee being stabbed, a correction officer who was slashed, and an inmate who suffered second-degree burns after having scalding water thrown on him.
Brandon Rodriguez (pictured right) was found hanged in a cell on Rikers Island earlier this month. His mother, Tamara Carter (pictured left),is awaiting answers from the ongoing investigation into his death
It also comes after the suspected suicide of inmate Brandon Rodriguez, 25, who was found hanging from a cell shower. He was pronounced dead on August 10, two days after an altercation with another inmate.
The guard in charge of monitoring his cell had reportedly been working a triple shift. The cause and circumstances of Rodriguez’s death are still being investigated.
Dr. Robert Cohen, a member of the Board of Correction, a sperate organization that monitors the jail system, told The Times that there had been five suicides in the past nine months, including Rodriguez’s.
Martin’s letter reportedly pointed to staffing issues as a main cause of the increasing problems at the New York City jail complex. It allegedly claims that 2,300 shifts had been missed without notice by the end of July.
In July, COBA filed a lawsuit against the Department of Correction in Queens Supreme Court, accusing them of ‘inhumane conditions’ including triple shifts and being denied access to water, PPE, and medical attention.
Over 200 former and current DOC officers gathered at the entrance of Rikers Island on August 16 to demand better working conditions including forbidding triple shifts.
Ten days later, another protest was held outside the jail complex in support of the inmates and officers as public defenders from Queens united in response to Martin’s letter.
Schiraldi has been a vocal proponent pushing for changes within the department agreeing with Martin’s attribution of the jails problems to staffing issues.
‘Officers are out sick because they continue to be forced to work under hostile and inhumane working conditions where they are forced to work 25 hours or more without meals and rest and are brutally assaulted by inmates with impunity,’ Mr. Boscio said according to The Times.
‘Fix the inhumane working conditions and you will fix the staffing crisis.’
Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA) President Benny Boscio has blamed Mayor de Blasio for the rising violence at Rikers Island
He has announced plans to resolve the issues with the New Day DOC plan.
- Accelerating the repair of all cell doors in facilities, starting with RNDC
- Implementing a plan to break up gang housing, beginning with young adults
- Providing high quality medical care to staff through a reputable hospital provider
- Ending triples tours as quickly as possible; but until then we are providing staff working triples with free rides home as well as free, catered meals during long tours
- Realigning our discipline process to be fair and proportional
- Expanding tablet coverage and welcoming back program providers in order to meaningfully engage people in our care.
- Re-establishing the Young Adult Task Force, a group of DOC staff, incarcerated youth, community members, and other stakeholders, and implement their recommendations on safety and programming
- Communicating consistently with staff as we carry these actions out
While this plan will be implemented to ‘create better environments’ for both the inmates and the workers Rikers Island is still set to be shut down by 2027.