Prosecutors: Rikers Guards Beat Low-IQ Teen Inmate
Mentally challenged youth was allegedly attacked in a camera-less supply room
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2015 3:20 PM CDT
Corrections officers wait for a March news conference in which New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to curb jail violence. Yesterday, two guards were charged with beating a teen inmate.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – Two guards at Rikers Island are facing prison time themselves after being charged with assaulting an 18-year-old mentally challenged inmate and lying on paperwork to cover it up, the AP reports. In December, Ambiorix Celedonio, who has an IQ of 65, was working in the mess hall when he got into an argument with captain Medzid Kolenovic. According to the New York Times, prosecutors claim Kolenovic then invited Celedonio to settle things in a supply room where there are no security cameras. Corrections officer Jean Destine allegedly followed the two inside, and when Celedonio exited his face was covered in blood and bruises. The injuries were so severe he required hospitalization.

The report filed by Destine and Kolenovic said Celedonio initiated the attack and they responded with appropriate force, the Times reports. But Celedonio's lawyer says the teen was bullied into the argument. "This egregious act should never have happened," she tells the AP. "These were two grown men severely assaulting not just a kid but also a kid who is mildly mentally retarded." Kolenovic and Destine, who both pleaded not guilty, are facing up to four years in prison. “These officers led an inmate to an unseen closet and beat him bloody,” New York City's investigation commissioner tells the Times. “Where city employees of any kind engage in such gross behavior, we will find them and see that they are prosecuted.” (A Times investigation found that Rikers guards routinely beat mentally ill inmates.)
 

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