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Herman Diaz Died At Rikers Island Jail After Choking on an Orange

Inmate Herman Diaz Died In Custody At Rikers Island Jail After No Correctional Officers Helped Him While He Was Choking

Herman Diaz Died At Rikers Island Jail After Choking on an Orange

RIKERS ISLAND, NEW YORK (March 23, 2022)  – An inmate at Rikers Island identified as Herman Diaz has tragically died in custody after choking to death when no officers came to his aid.

New York City officials are saying that the victim was originally booked into Rikers Island on February 27th. Herman Diaz began choking on pieces of an Orange.

He came out of a bathroom and alerted other inmates that he was choking and they began to help. But their attempts were unsuccessful.

At some point, Herman Diaz collapsed and later died. The inmate’s brother, Eddie Diaz, wants answers about what happened that day.

A full investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

Liability In Rikers Island Inmate Deaths

Thousands of people die every year at state and federal jails across the United States. Rikers Island, in particular, is notorious for the treatment and lack of care that inmates receive.  According to one report in The Guardian, “New York’s Rikers Island, one of the largest and most notorious jails in the world, is reaching a breaking point after more than a dozen incarcerated people died this year alone, in what elected officials and advocates are calling a humanitarian crisis.” There have been reports of abuse, neglect and staffing shortages. There are a number of steps that correctional facilities should take in order to keep inmates safe.

  • Jails should be properly staffed.
  • Correctional officers should be properly trained.
  • Inmates must receive adequate healthcare.
  • Inmate neglect and abuse should be thoroughly documented an investigated.

Jails have a legal responsibility to provide inmates with a reasonable safe environment and adequate healthcare. In order for this to be accomplished, correctional facilities must be properly staffed and those staff should be well trained. If a correctional facility is understaffed, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. Understaffing means there are less qualified officers to administer medical care and prevent violence. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any in custody death.

  • Surveillance footage should be sought.
  • Medical records should be preserved.
  • An autopsy should be conducted.
  • A thorough, independent investigation should be conducted.

The family of any inmate that died in custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and funeral expenses. It is extremely important that evidence is properly preserved after an accident. Evidence is what will ultimately be used to determine liability for an inmate death. A New York City wrongful death attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating A Rikers Island Inmate Death

We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Herman Diaz. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be accountability for the sake of all who have lost so much. All inmates deserve to be treated with decency, compassion and fairness. Sadly, though, this is almost entirely missing at Rikers Island.

Do you need more information about an in custody death at Riker’s Island? Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that inmates and their families get the support and justice that they are entitled to under the law. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into an in custody death we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at  (516) 908-9792.


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