Elected officials visit Rikers Island unannounced after inmate suicide over weekend

Elected officials made an unannounced visit to Rikers Island, after an inmate committed suicide on Saturday, marking the 17th death in custody this year.  
Many of the officials reiterated similar concerns and disappointment of what they experienced at the jail facility.  
“I had no expectations for this visit, yet it was worse than I ever imagined,” said councilmember Lincoln Restler.  
Restler was joined by fellow members of City Council Jennifer Gutierrez and Sandy Nurse, among others, to get a firsthand look at the living conditions and speak with inmates.  
“It was sad for me personally, but I went in there to talk to some of the detainees to really let them know… we were there to elevate their issues if they felt like there were violations,” said Gutierrez.  
On Saturday, the Department of Corrections says 28-year-old Erick Tavira committed suicide at the George R. Vierno Center, and his family has since filed a wrongful death suit against the city.  
“We have to do better in ensuring that people can make their day in court by making sure that they stay alive while in state custody,” said Nurse. 
On Tuesday, advocates and the family of the late Erick Tavira plan to rally outside City Hall to call on the city to shut down the jail facility.  
News 12 has reached out to the DOC for a comment and is waiting to hear back.