New York City to pay $3.5M settlement in Rikers inmate death
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City has reached a $3.5 million settlement in a lawsuit filed over the 2014 death of a Rikers Island inmate who records show was deprived of seizure medication.
The Daily News reported Wednesday that the city agreed last week to pay the money to Rolando Perez's girlfriend, who is the mother of his now-18-year-old son.
Perez died in January 2014, two days after being put in solitary confinement. He was being held at Rikers on burglary charges and was sent to solitary just a week before he was scheduled to be released.
The 36-year-old had suffered from a seizure disorder since he was a teen and relied on medications to control it. It was so severe he couldn't hold a job, often falling to the ground without warning and flailing, only to wake up with no memory of the ordeal.
According to city records and Perez's family, he was deprived of his medication while in solitary and had been placed there without being cleared by medical and mental health staff.
Inmates told investigators they heard him screaming for his medication.
A correction officer who saw Perez lying on his bed on his left side facing the back window kicked the door, but Perez didn't respond, according to an investigator's report. Two guards entered five minutes later, and one who tapped him on the shoulder heard Perez gasp for air. About 40 minutes later he was pronounced dead.