Inmate’s Death Is 9th at Rikers Island Jail Complex in 2021

September 8, 2021

NEW YORK — A 24-year-old man found dead in his cell at Rikers Island was the ninth inmate to die at the troubled jail complex this year, officials said.

A correction officer found Esias Johnson unresponsive Tuesday morning, Department of Correction officials said. Medical staff pronounced him dead at 9:45 a.m.

"The circumstances surrounding this death will receive a full investigation," New York City Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said in a statement. "We have been in touch with Esias Johnson's next of kin, and extend our deepest condolences."

Johnson had been in custody for a month and was being held for menacing and fugitive arrest warrant charges.

His death was the ninth at Rikers in 2021 and follows two just last month. Brandon Rodriguez died on Aug. 10 and Segundo Guallpa died on Aug. 30, according to Department of Correction records.

City Council Member Keith Powers, the chair of the criminal justice committee, called nine inmate deaths "unacceptable."  Powers said on Twitter, "There's a reason so many of us have been sounding the alarm at Rikers and across NYC's correctional facilities. We are in crisis mode and must take action." 


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