Skip to main content
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

NYC Settles Inmate-Homicide Lawsuit for $2.75M

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on July 22, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

New York City has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that guards at Rikers Island jail beat a man to death.

The civil suit, brought by the family of 52-year-old Ronald Spear, follows a city medical examiner's ruling that Spear's death was a homicide. The district attorney's office declined to press criminal charges against the guards alleged to have administered the fatal beating, reports the New York Daily News.

Why did the city settle, and how do you sue for prison abuses?

Injured? Exercise your legal rights. Get in touch with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area today.

City Admits No Wrongdoing

In agreeing to the settlement, the city admits to no wrongdoing in the death of Spear, who at the time of his death was suffering from kidney problems and walked with a cane.

Following his arrest in September 2012, Spear had filed a lawsuit against the city claiming that he was being denied regular medical treatment and had often complained to corrections officers about his medications and dialysis treatments, reports The New York Times.

In his lawsuit, he claimed that corrections officers had retaliated against him for his requests for medical treatment. About two weeks after filing the suit, Spears reportedly got into a disagreement with an officer at the jail regarding his treatment. According to sworn statements by two other inmates, the officer grabbed Spears arm and hit him, knocking him down. As Spears lay on the floor, two officers held him whole the first officer kicked him in the head and chest.

The Spears family's lawyer told The New York Times that the settlement "seems to reflect a recognition on the part of the city that something terribly wrong happened here." The family has called on federal prosecutors to investigate, according to the Daily News.

How Can You Sue for Prisoner Abuse?

Inmates who have been subject to abuse by prison staff while incarcerated have a few options for getting help. These include:

In addition to the above options, inmates and their families can consult with a civil rights attorney to learn more about their legal rights.

Related Resources:

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard