Jail captains suspended after bolting from colleague who took brutal beating from Rikers inmate
Two city jail captains who ran away as a colleague was attacked by a Rikers inmate have been suspended, the Daily News has learned.
Captains Ricardo Reimers and Keith Phillip were caught on surveillance video racing off as Capt. Awais Ghauri was pummeled by inmate Jason Reid in middle of a dormitory area inside the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Thanksgiving at about 2 p.m.
Reid wrestled Ghauri, 31, to the floor as the officers and other inmates in the area fled, the video shows. The beatdown lasted for 20 seconds before Ghauri wrestled away and toppled Reid.
Then, he began to punch the pinned down Reid, the video shows. At the same time, two other inmates joined the fray, and punched the injured jail captain.
Ghauri, who was blindsided by the attack, suffered bruises to his face and a cut below his left ear.
On Wednesday, in an unusual move, the union representing jail captains called the officers who ran away “cowards” who deserve to be punished by the department. “They ran from danger,” said Patrick Ferraiuolo, president of the Correction Captains Association. “There is no room for cowards in my rank. I’m not defending them.”
The two captains had been recently promoted and were on probation, jail sources said. They will likely be demoted to the correction officer rank, the sources said.
By contrast, Ferraiuolo said the union plans to honor Ghauri for his bravery.
Reimers reached by phone declined to comment. Phillip was not immediately available.
Reid is in jail on robbery, trespassing and assault charges, records show.
Nearly a week after the assault, he has not been re-arrested and hit with added charges.
“It’s still under investigation,” said Patrice O’Shaughnessy, a spokeswoman for the Bronx district attorney’s office.
The Correction Department declined to comment on the suspensions, citing state law which prohibits the agency from discussing employee discipline.
“The unprovoked assault of our Captain on Thanksgiving Day is deplorable, and every aspect of this incident is under investigation,” said department spokesman Peter Thorne.