NYC Bronx jail barge detainee dies in East River escape leap

2022-09-24 00:10:23 By : Mr. Jacky Wen

A detainee who tried to escape by jumping from a jail barge in the Bronx into the East River died, city Correction Department officials said Wednesday.

Gregory Acevedo, 48, climbed a fence and crawled through razor wire before he jumped roughly 50 feet from the rooftop recreation yard at the barge — formally called the Vernon C. Bain Center — in Hunt’s Point about 11:44 a.m. Tuesday.

“He was gone when he hit the water,” said a Correction Department source.

Acevedo was unresponsive and in cardiac arrest when NYPD harbor unit officers took him from the river and transported him to a Rikers Island pier. He was later taken to Mount Sinai Queens, where he died at 10:59 p.m. Tuesday, said Correction Commissioner Louis Molina.

Vernon C. Bain Center prison barge in Hunts Point, the Bronx. (James Keivom/New York Daily News)

Molina called Acevedo’s death an “immense loss” and said investigations are under way.

Acevedo’s death is the 15th in Correction Department custody so far this year. Sixteen detainees died in custody in 2021.

Investigators were looking into whether a use of force by correction officers sparked Acevedo’s escape attempt, sources said. Officers used pepper spray on Acevedo at some point as he tried to escape.

The detainee’s lawyer, Warren Silverman, said the officers pepper-sprayed the man while he was on the jail’s fence. He has called Acevedo’s death a “massive failure” on the part of the Correction Department.

Acevedo’s leap follows an escape from the Bain Center in July 2021 when David Mordukhaev, 30, shimmied from his cell down a rope made of sheets and was on the lam for several days before he was recaptured.

Acevedo’s death comes less than two months from a key federal court hearing that may decide whether the jails remain in the city’s control or are turned over to a federal receiver. The city is trying to install its “action plan” to fix the jails ahead of the hearing.

But DeRay McKesson, director of Campaign Zero, which advocates for receivership, noted that eight people have died in the jails since the action plan was approved June 10 by Judge Laura Taylor Swain.

“Judge Swain vowed to hold DOC accountable if their action plan failed. By any conceivable standard, it has,” McKesson said. “The pace of deaths has actually increased since the last hearing. There’s no reason to wait until November to make this decision. This department cannot fix itself.”

Among the most recent deaths, Kevin Bryan somehow got into a staff bathroom off-limits to detainees and hanged himself Sept. 14.

Michael Nieves, 40, cut his own throat Aug. 30 with a Correction Department-issued shaving razor that staff failed to take back from him.

Ricardo Cruciani, a 67-year-old doctor convicted of sexually abusing multiple patients, hanged himself Aug. 15 in general population — after having repeatedly threatened to take his life. His death deprived his many victims of the opportunity to confront him at sentencing.

Mary Yehudah, 31, died May 18 from complications of diabetes after medical staff failed to do a basic urine test to screen her for the illness, according to a lawsuit filed by her family.

A Board of Correction report issued Sept 12 on six suicides and four overdoses in the jails in 2021 found a range of staffing breakdowns that contributed to those fatalities.

Before he died, Acevedo had spent much of his life in city or state custody.

Acevedo was paroled in 2016 after serving 20 years in prison for a 1995 conviction of attempted murder, robbery, assault and escape charges brought in Brooklyn, records show.

Acevedo, a lifelong New Yorker according to his lawyer, lived for periods after his release from prison in shelters in Brooklyn and Queens, records show.

He was arrested Feb. 26 on a robbery and assault charge in Queens. According to the criminal complaint, Acevedo broke into a van in Ozone Park and stole a box of tools.

The owners of the van spotted him and Acevedo allegedly attacked them with two screwdrivers, causing puncture wounds, scrapes and bruises.

Acevedo’s arrest led the state to move to violate his parole in the 1995 conviction. He was being held at the Bain Center without bail.

Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News

Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News