NEW YORK (Reuters) - A correction officer at New York City's Rikers Island jail complex was arrested on Monday on charges he beat a handcuffed inmate, the latest guard at the troubled institution to face criminal charges.
Rodiny Calypso, 38, faces federal charges of violating the inmate's civil rights as well as filing a false report to cover up the attack, according to a criminal complaint.
City and federal officials have brought dozens of prosecutions in recent years against Rikers employees for abuse, corruption and contraband smuggling as part of a broader reform effort to fight pervasive violence at one of the United States' largest jails.
"Rodiny Calypso allegedly violated a Rikers Island inmate's constitutional rights by viciously beating him – without physical provocation – while the inmate was restrained in handcuffs," said, Joon Kim, the acting US attorney in Manhattan.
According to the complaint, the unidentified inmate was housed in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. On Feb. 27, 2014, the inmate was in the shower and engaged in a conversation with Calypso while the guard picked up some personal items that the inmate had dropped outside the shower.
Calypso handcuffed the inmate's hands behind his back through a port, part of the standard procedure for taking inmates to and from the shower, the complaint said. Calypso punched and elbowed the inmate in the face and head several times; the assault was recorded by a security camera, prosecutors said.
Following the attack, Calypso falsely reported that the inmate spit on him, according to authorities. The complaint said a photograph after the assault showed spittle on Calypso's shirt, but video footage did not support the allegation. The shirt also disappeared following the incident, authorities said.
"This is the 37th Department of Correction employee the Department of Investigation has arrested in the past three years, and we remain committed to our ongoing investigations and reform of Rikers Island," Mark Peters, the commissioner of the Department of Investigation, which examines criminal allegations against city employees, said in a statement.
A defense lawyer for Calypso could not immediately be identified.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)