Family of Man Who 'Baked to Death' on Rikers Island Plans $25M Suit

By Gustavo Solis on May 15, 2014 6:54pm 

 A view of the entrance to the Rikers Island prison complex.
A view of the entrance to the Rikers Island prison complex.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

THE BRONX — The mother of a Rikers Island inmate who reportedly "baked to death" in February plans to sue the city for $25 million, according to a notice filed with the city Comptroller's office.

Mentally ill and homeless, Jerome Murdough, was found dead in a 100-degree jail cell on Feb. 15, officials told the the Associated Press, which first reported the story.

He was taking anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication that made him more vulnerable to the heat, according to the news service.

The notice of claim, filed by the inmate's mother Alma Murdough against the City of New York and the Department of Corrections, alleges that correctional officers violated her son’s civil rights, used excessive force and are to blame for his death.

Murdough was arrested for trespassing in Harlem on Feb. 7. He was unable to make bail and transferred to the jail.

While incarcerated, he was exposed to sweltering heat conditions in the jail cell for an unreasonable amount of time which resulted in his death — a violation of his fifth and sixth amendment rights — according to the document.

Murdough seeks $25 million in damages including economic loss, medical expenses and related costs and damages incurred by her son's death.

"This case involves a tragic incident and we will review the lawsuit and respond accordingly," a city Law Department spokesman said.

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