15 Rikers Island inmates charged in Correction captain's beating

RIKERS ISLAND (WABC) -- Fifteen Rikers Island inmates have been indicted in the assault of a New York City Department of Correction captain on Thanksgiving Day in what was described as an orchestrated, retaliatory attack.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark announced indictments Thursday. The suspects were identified as:

--Jason Reid, AKA Chuk, 33, Bronx
--Lyemel Summerville, 19, Brooklyn
--Maurice Hennegan, 24, Brooklyn
--Jakwan Ramos, AKA Floss, 21, Bronx
--Juan DeJesus, AKA J Dollar, 25, Bronx
--Menelick McQuicken, 26, Brooklyn
--Aphell James, 36, Queens
--Laquan Russell, 25, Brooklyn
--Pirterson Loiseau, AKA Pistol, 21, Queens
--Isreal Jimenez, 22, Brooklyn
--Jonathan Scott, 25, Brooklyn
--Kenneth Threatts, AKA Bloody, 21, Virginia
--Nathaniel Williams, 29, Bronx
--Sherwin Benn AKA GT, 34, Queens
--Amara Toure, 22, Bronx
--Christian Martinez, 29, Manhattan

"This case presents a chilling picture of the society of violence on Rikers Island, with gang members who think they control the jails," Clark said. "But they do not; the rule of law does. Defendant Jason Reid gathered several of the defendants and 90 minutes later, a coordinated attack was unleashed on Captain Awais Ghauri in a show of gang power. Three weeks earlier, the captain deployed pepper spray to defuse a tense situation after a fight between inmates, and Reid...threatened to assault the captain if he sprayed."

According to the investigation, on November 2, 2017, in the Otis Bantum Correctional Center, Reid threatened to "cut" Captain Ghauri after the captain used his pepper spray to diffuse an inmate altercation. On November 23, 2017, Reid, 33, allegedly called a meeting with multiple inmates in Housing Area 3 North of OBCC.

Authorities say surveillance video shows the defendants meeting at 12:15 p.m., and approximately 90 minutes later, surveillance video shows Reid leading the attack, striking Captain Ghauri from behind, knocking him to the floor and repeatedly punching him. When Captain Ghauri began to defend himself, defendants Maurice Hennegan and Lyemel Summerville allegedly joined in the assault, punching the captain several times. He suffered multiple injuries including a laceration on his neck and multiple abrasions.

According to the investigation, 14 defendants stole a canister of pepper spray from a correction officer, attempted to steal another officer's canister, and acting in concert, stood watch and physically blocked and threatened other correction officers from aiding Captain Ghauri. A correction officer assigned to the housing area came to the aid of the Captain, and she fought off several inmates.

Related: Rikers captains suspended, called 'cowards' after running away from attack

Officials say Juan DeJesus who, on December 11, 2017, was sentenced to 15 years for a Bronx shooting/stabbing case, aided in the robbery of the pepper spray and the assault on the captain by raising a chair to menace correction personnel. He also allegedly helped to dispose of the cannister.

Investigators say a 16th defendant, Christian Martinez, who was locked in his cell during the assault, later took possession of the pepper spray can and disposed of it.

The 15 suspects are charged with robbery, gang assault, assault, attempted robbery and riot, while the defendants are variously charged with promoting prison contraband, unlawfully possessing noxious material, criminal possession of stolen property, obstructing governmental administration, tampering with physical evidence and harassment. If convicted of the top charge, they each face up to 25 years in prison.

The investigation is ongoing.
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