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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Statement Of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara On Conviction Of Rikers Island Correction Officer Terrence Pendergrass

“Our efforts to reform Rikers Island continue. Following last week’s conviction of correction officer Austin Romain for taking bribes and smuggling drugs into Rikers Island, today a jury convicted former Rikers Island captain Terrence Pendergrass of a federal civil rights crime. The jury unanimously found that Pendergrass violated Jason Echevarria’s constitutional rights by deliberately ignoring his pleas for help and depriving him of urgent medical care, leaving Echevarria to die alone in his cell. Echevarria should not have died, and the convictions of individual wrongdoers at Rikers Island – as well as the systemic, institution-wide reforms we are pursuing – should help prevent tragedies like Echevarria’s death from occurring again.”

Updated May 15, 2015