NYACK, New York (WABC) -- Joseph Troiano, 28, is a gentle makeup artist and hair stylist. He made a foolish mistake and tried to shoplift pocketbooks.
Troiano was sentenced to 60 days at Rikers since he had no prior arrests. He is openly gay and asked to be put in protective custody while serving time. Now, Troiano has six-inch gash on his face and neck. He says 10 days before his release, an accused murderer slashed him. He is now suing the city.
"As I turned around, he reached his arm over me and slashed downward and across," says Troiano.
Eyewitness News is told a second inmate was also slashed that night before the guards finally stopped the attacker.
"If he came closer and hit his carotid artery, he'd be dead, and I would be filing wrongful death instead of violation of civil rights," said Troiano's attorney, Pamela Roth.
Roth wants to know why an accused killer was housed in protective custody with non-violent offenders.
"He is not supposed to be treated like garbage. He still has civil rights, he's still a human being," added Roth.
Roth has now filed a $30 million lawsuit.
On Friday night the Correction Department told Eyewitness News it is working with the Bronx District Attorney to prosecute anyone involved in the attack. It also says this is why body scanners are needed at the jail, and is working with state legislators to get them approved.
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EXCLUSIVE: Inmate suing city after Rikers protective custody slashing
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