Another suspect mistakenly released from Rikers Island turns self in with attorney

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Friday, March 19, 2021
Another suspect mistakenly released from Rikers Island
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Police are searching for a suspect in an attempted murder who was mistakenly released from Rikers Island because of a paperwork error -- the second time in a week such an incident has occurred.

RIKERS ISLAND, New York City (WABC) -- Police say an attempted murder suspect who was mistakenly released from Rikers Island because of a paperwork error is back in custody.

Nikim Meekins, 22, returned to court at midnight, accompanied by his attorney.

Meekins was arrested March 10 in connection with two incidents, the more serious a November 3 non-fatal shooting in which he charged with attempted murder and was supposed to be held on $300,000 bond/$100,000 bail.

A court spokesperson said he had a court appearance Monday for that incident and a gun case, and that he also has a pending felony indictment in Supreme Court for which he had already posted bail.

The Bronx District Attorney agreed to a $1 nominal bail in the second case, a reckless endangerment and gun possession charge, in which Meekins allegedly opened fire on two people on August 30 but missed both.

The DA conceded Meekins could be released on his own recognizance in that case, but the judge kept same bail conditions on the attempted murder case.

The spokesperson said the clerk annotated the paper work as $1 bail on the gun case correctly but mistakenly indicated the release on the attempted murder case as well.

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Those securing orders were communicated to the Department of Corrections, and Meekins was released.

"Based on the documentation provided by the courts, the release from custody was proper and in accordance with our policy," Department of Correction Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Peter Thorne said in a statement.

Upon notification of the error, the judge issued a bench warrant on the attempted murder case, and Meekins is actively being sought.

"We will be addressing the clerical error from a personnel and training perspective," the spokesperson said. "While this was a serious mistake and will be dealt with, New York Criminal Court, over the last year, has conducted tens of thousands of arraignments and felony waver proceedings, with judges, clerks and court officers keeping the system functioning under very trying circumstances."

The mistaken release comes a week after 26-year-old Christopher Buggs was released on March 9 on an unrelated case for which he was sentenced to time serve -- while he was also awaiting trial in a 2018 murder.

Buggs is accused of killing 55-year-old Ernest Brownlee outside a bodega in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Brownlee was apparently a career criminal who killed two men in the 1980s.

Four correction officers have since been suspended in connection to the mistaken release, including Assistant Deputy Warden Kevin Roulston, the tour commander, who gave the final signoff for the release.

Two correction officers and a captain were also suspended.

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It is unclear if there will be any disciplinary actions in connection with Meekins' release.

Anyone with information in regard to the whereabouts of Buggs is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).


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