Darryl Williams v. City of New York, 07 Civ. 11055 (S.D.N.Y.)

Nature of Claims: Excessive force by jail staff. This action, filed in December 2007, seeks damages for the December 2006 beating of Darryl Williams, a 44-year old pre-trial detainee in the Otis Bantum Correctional Center (“OBCC”) on Rikers Island. One morning in the jail mess hall an officer thought Mr. Williams was trying to take a second tray, thinking he had eaten breakfast already. When Mr. Williams denied the accusation, his complaint alleges, the officer got angry and threw him against the wall, causing the tray to drop to the floor. Mr. Williams turned and swung his arms at the officer. The officer then punched Mr. Williams in the face, and together with two or three others, grabbed him and dragged him from the mess hall. Mr. Williams was taken to the receiving room and thrown violently against a clothes bin in a “search room,” which is isolated from the view of other prisoners. He was repeatedly struck in the face, possibly with handcuffs. He was found to have suffered a facial fracture under his right eye, a fractured jaw which was surgically repaired, and a laceration to his ear which required five sutures to repair. Staff claimed that the facial injuries were sustained when Mr. Williams was taken forcefully to the floor in the mess hall; they did not report the force used in the receiving room, though jail rules require all uses of force to be reported. The case was settled in July 2008 for $202,500.

Current status: Settled.

Reported decisions: None.