New York

Dwaine Taylor, Ex-Rikers Inmate Sues, Claims ‘The Program’ Still Exists


Responding to a recent Voice article on violence in the jails, the city Correction Department had claimed that they had done away with “the program,” in which correction officers on their own condoned or encouraged gang-affiliated inmates to beat up inmates to keep order. In 2008, 17-year-old Christopher Robinson was murdered in the Robert N. Davoren Center or RNDC as a result of “the program.”

Now, comes a new allegation that “the program” continued to exist at least though the end of last year, despite those claims. In a lawsuit filed today, former RNDC inmate Dwaine Taylor charges he suffered two vicious “program” beatings in May and November, 2011–three years after Robinson’s death.

Taylor’s lawsuit alleges that in May, 2011, he was beaten by Bloods gang members in a Bronx criminal court holding cell 10 feet from correction officers. The assault last several minutes, and Taylor suffered a multiple jaw fractures. Those officers then tried to cover up the attack by “encouraging” him not to write a statement about it.

Taylor insisted on writing the statement, and eventually, his main attacker, Baptiste Boyce, was indicted on assault charges.

He continued to feel pain through the summer, and by September of that year, the jaw was so infected that he had to undergo surgery to replace the bone with part of his hip bone, the lawsuit alleges.

And here’s where the case really gets shocking: Taylor was now a witness against the gang members who beat him, Correction officials stupidly put Taylor back into RNDC general population after that second round of surgery, and in November, 2011, he got beaten up again by Bloods gang members. and suffered, yes, another broken jaw.

Before that second incident, he was at Bronx courts again, and was walked past Boyce, who immediately said, “That’s the guy told on me. I’m going to get you.”

According to the lawsuit, Taylor experience other indicia of the “program.” He wasn’t allowed to sit at a table because the Bloods controlled the tables.

The lawsuit names Arthur Olivari, a supervising warden, DOC’s Chief of Department Michael Hourihane, and William Clemons, then the warden at RNDC, and Turham Gumusdere. There is a pending investigation into allegations that during Clemons and Gumusdere’s tenure, inmate fights were not reported to make the jail’s statistics look better. Both men were promoted despite those allegations.

The Voice first disclosed the existence of “the program” in 2007, well over a year before Robinson was murdered. The city recently paid Robinson mother $2 million to settle her lawsuit over his death.


Archive Highlights