.@RepJeffries on behalf of @NatUrbanLeague presents award to @NYGovCuomo for leadership in criminal justice reform. pic.twitter.com/WuOeMxsdYI— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 10, 2015
Yesterday the NY Times broke the news that 60+ prisoners who were housed at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora where two prisoners escaped in June have filed complaints that they were beaten, choked, and tortured by correction officers.
The governor himself helped inaugurate the "tough guy" interactions at Clinton Correctional with this exchange with a prisoner whose cell was next to one of the escaped prisoners:
It would be several hours before the first details of the escape were made public. Around 11 a.m., Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo toured the honor block and inspected the holes the inmates had cut in the backs of their cells with hacksaw blades.Governor’s StareThe governor then stopped to question Mr. Alexander.“Must have kept you awake with all that cutting, huh?” Mr. Cuomo asked, according to video of the exchange. Then, Mr. Alexander said, the governor “gave me his best tough-guy stare and walked off.”Later, the governor said he would be “shocked” if any corrections officers had been involved.
That prisoner who Cuomo gave his "best tough-guy stare" to was taken into a broom closet a few hours after the governor left Clinton Correctional and beaten, choked and threatened with waterboarding by correctional officers:
Around 8 p.m., he was handcuffed and taken to a broom closet where, he said, three corrections officers whom he had never seen before interrogated him. An officer wearing a jacket with the initials C.I.U. — Crisis Intervention Unit — sat down and asked him, “Do you know the difference between this interview and those other interviews?” Mr. Alexander recalled.
This time, the officer warned, there were only uniformed guards in the room, Mr. Alexander said.“The officer jumps up and grabs me by my throat, lifts me out of the chair, slams my head into the pipe along the wall,” he said. “Then he starts punching me in the face. The other two get up and start hitting me also in the ribs and stomach.”With each punch, Mr. Alexander said, the officers shouted another question.“The whole time he’s holding me up by my throat,” he added.When Mr. Alexander repeatedly insisted that he had no information, one officer pointed to a plastic bag hanging on some pipes, asked if he knew what it was for and said, “You know what waterboarding is?” Mr. Alexander recalled.The officer then put the bag over his head and started beating him again, Mr. Alexander said.He said the interrogation lasted about 20 minutes, and he was then taken, bleeding, back to his cell.
Later, Mr. Alexander said, the same officer “began quietly taunting and threatening me, telling me, ‘Don’t worry, Fat Boy, we’ll be seeing you really soon.’ ”
There are serious allegations of systemic abuse by correctional officers and members of the Crisis Intervention Unit in the Times piece, but so far, other than outrage online in the form of social media tweets and comments left at the Times story, there has been silence from the "civil rights activists" who were allied with Cuomo in his push to give the Attorney General power to subsume power from local district attorneys in incidents of death caused by law enforcement authorities.
There is plenty of scorn to go around here, but I'm going straight at one of the more vocal Cuomo allies, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a Cuomo ally who just gave Sheriff Andy an award from the Urban League two days ago for his "leadership" on criminal justice reform.
It would seem to me that this story in the NY Times that details how 60+ allegations of abuse, beatings and torture took place in Clinton Correctional after the June escape of two prisoners would be a perfect time for Andrew Cuomo to show some "leadership" in criminal justice reform and get to the bottom of the matter, but since Cuomo seems to have set off the whole mess with his tone of "by any means necessary" and tough guy show at Dannemora, he's nowhere to be found on this.
And it would seem that this story in the NY Times would at least precipitate a public statement from Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, the man who has been quick to criticize Bill de Blasio for any real or alleged misstep on criminal justice reform issues.
I've left a few messages for Criminal Justice Reform Warrior Jeffries on twitter to see if he'd reply:
@RepJeffries Thoughts on systemic beating, torture of prisoners at Dannemora? http://t.co/updtPinnM5— rbe (@perdidostschool) August 12, 2015
@RepJeffries One prisoner was beaten, choked by guards hours after Gov Cuomo "stared him down" http://t.co/updtPinnM5— rbe (@perdidostschool) August 12, 2015
.@RepJeffries What award will you give Gov Cuomo for his leadership in the Dannemora prison beatings/torture mess?— rbe (@perdidostschool) August 12, 2015
So far, silence from Jeffries, which isn't a surprise since these allegations involve his buddy, Andrew Cuomo, and not his rival, Bill de Blasio.
You can bet had the NY Times published a story about Rikers, Jeffries would have been on it quicker than you can say "National Urban League" award, but alas, this wasn't an opportunity for Jeffries to bash and weaken de Blasio or aggrandize Cuomo, so there has been no public statement about the issue so far from Jeffries.
I would assume Criminal Justice Reform Warrior Jeffries will eventually have to make some statement about the abuse allegations, that he won't be able to ignore them completely just because they seem to have been kicked off at the hands of his buddy, Sheriff Andy Cuomo, but who knows when that will be.
Jeffries has thrown his lot in with Andrew Cuomo and you can bet the Dark Lord in Albany (yes, that's a Cheney reference) will not suffer gladly any "friends" or "allies" who criticize the him over the prison abuse issue at Clinton Correctional.
Thus the "cricket sounds" out of Jeffries on the matter - and the same goes for many of Cuomo's other criminal justice reform allies.