Rally held at Foley Square calling for protection reform for inmates in NYC jails

The rally took place after inmate William Johnstone was found unresponsive in his cell at Rikers Island last weekend.

Jul 18, 2023, 9:46 PM

Updated 313 days ago

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Dozens of organizers, family members and survivors rallied at Foley Square on Tuesday calling for the rights of inmates incarcerated in New York City jails to be protected.
The rally comes after the Department of Correction says 47-year-old William Johnstone was found unresponsive in his cell at Rikers Island this past weekend. Johnstone isn't the first inmate to die in Department of Corrections’ custody. He is now the sixth person to die in their custody.
On Monday, federal prosecutor Damian Williams announced that his office is filing for contempt of court and seeking a court-appointed receiver to take responsibility out of the hands of Mayor Eric Adams administration after a federal monitor report released last week found that Department of Correction was not doing enough.
"Why did he die?” said attendee Akiana Smith. “Nobody knows. How did he die? Nobody knows. But where did he die? Rikers island aka torture island."
Organizers say they are calling on Adams Gov. Kathy Hochul and local lawmakers to make a change.
Johnstone was in the Department of Correction custody since March.


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