The family of a Rikers Island inmate who died after choking on an orange slice in the prison complex is suing the city for $20 million.
Herman Diaz, 52, suddenly collapsed after being choked on the citrus on March 18, but there were no officers patrolling the residential area when he got into distress, according to Manhattan federal court papers.
Other inmates had to carry Diaz to a clinic “while officers looked on. He was left helpless and denied until it was too late and died,” the court filings say.
The city’s Department of Corrections has recorded 11 incarceration deaths so far this year, a 60% increase from 2021. The agency has faced a wave of criticism for its failure to provide adequate medical treatment to inmates.
“Every death in prison is tragic. The problems in prisons are long-standing and cannot be solved overnight. The city is committed to working diligently with the Court Monitor to implement lasting reforms,” a legal spokesman said on the Diaz litigation.
On July 26, the family of Rikers Island inmate Mary Yehudah, who died in custody in May, filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city, alleging the woman’s death was preventable.
https://nypost.com/2022/08/06/rikers-island-inmate-herman-diaz-who-died-in-custody-family-sues-for-20m/ Rikers Island inmate Herman Diaz, who died in custody, is suing his family for $20 million