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6 correction officers, 15 others charged in Rikers Island bribery case

Rikers Island
Posted at 2:10 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 18:15:45-05

NEW YORK — Six New York City correctional officers have been charged with taking thousands of dollars in bribes to smuggle drugs into the Rikers Island jail complex.

Prosecutors said 15 other people, including several inmates, also were charged in criminal complaints unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

Correction Officers Darrington James, Patrick Legerme, Aldrin Livingston, Michael Murray, Angel Rodriguez and Christopher Walker were named in the criminal complaints.

Department of Correction Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Peter Thorne said four of the officers are no longer with the department and two have been suspended without pay. They'll be terminated if found guilty.

“We have zero tolerance for anyone bringing contraband into our jails," Thorne said.

The investigation began in early 2019 and involved correction officers sneaking a smartphone, marijuana and other drugs into the troubled jail complex, authorities said.

Investigators said they found a dozen clear plastic bags of marijuana after searching an inmate involved in the conspiracy.

Contraband smuggling threatens the safety of correction officers and inmates, Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett said.

"The arrests today are another example of a pattern in which inmates and outside conspirators identify two correction officers vulnerable to corruption, and use them to carry drugs and other illegal substances into the jails," Garnett said.

New York City lawmakers voted in October to close Rikers and replace it with smaller facilities.