RIKERS ISLAND — A Rikers Island inmate plans to sue the city for $20 million after being slashed across the face by a reputed member of the Bloods because a group of nearby correction officers did nothing to help.
Inmate David Marrero was in the jail's George R. Vierno Center gym on Saturday around 6:42 p.m. when inmate Steven Sidbury, who is awaiting trial for murder and has a history of violence against other inmates, slashed him across his right eye and right cheek, according to the notice of claim filed by Marrero's lawyer Pamela Roth.
About eight correction officers were with Marrero when he was attacked, but they did nothing to prevent him from getting slashed, the claim says.
Additionally, one officer took a photo of Marrero's injuries that was then posted online, according to Roth.
“None of them do anything to stop it, and one is taking photographs and leaks it out,” she said. “It’s a violation of my client’s privacy. You can’t just start taking photos. He’s there as an inmate. He has his civil rights.”
Marrero has been in Rikers since October waiting to be retried in a murder case against him, Roth said. He was transferred to the jail from Sing Sing because an appeal was granted in his murder case.
While at Sing Sing, Marrero was stabbed in the neck and assaulted by a guard, and it is now difficult for him to walk because his knee constantly gets swollen, so he needs guards around him at all times for help and protection, according to Roth.
“He can’t do anything to protect himself,” she said. “If you’re a weak link, you’re easily going to fall prey to any of them attacking.”
Marrero's family only found out about the attack once photos were posted online, not from officials at Rikers, Roth said.
His mother Marlene Aloe said she has not spoken to her son since he was attacked and accused the city of trying to cover up his assault because the injuries were so bad.
"They don’t want no one to see my son because how badly he’s cut," she said. "I have not heard from my son since Saturday. I don’t know what is going on."
Department of Correction spokesman Peter Thorne said that most officers at Rikers do their jobs well, "and we are taking many steps to ensure that all staff adhere to the highest professionalism.”
The Law Department did not respond to a request for comment.
Marrero was indicted in 2008 for fatally shooting Roderick Tucker and Monique Ford in 2005, and he was found guilty of murder in 2012, according to the Bronx District Attorney's Office.
Aloe broke down in tears while describing her son's experience at Rikers, maintaining that the place is "inhumane" and long overdue for dramatic reforms.
"I want everybody to know that what’s going on in the jail, for once and for all, it needs to be corrected," she said.