On November 24, 2012, Rikers Island correction officers pulled inmate Anthony Wallace, 26, out of a medication line for a search. The process began standard enough: strip down, bend over, spread cheeks.
But then, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in Bronx Supreme Court, the search took a heinous turn: correction officer Gregory Lewis allegedly removed a flashlight from his belt and “forcefully shoved the flashlight” into Wallace’s anus.
When Wallace “stood up straight and asked” Lewis why he did did that, the complaint claims, Lewis replied, “Shut the fuck bitch and put your clothes back on.”
Later, once Wallace had returned to the housing area, the complaint states that Lewis told him, “Shut the fuck up and don’t say shit.”
Wallace told the jail’s medical staff about the incident “within two days.” He also called the Inspector General and his wife informed 311.
But “no investigation was launched until several weeks later,” the complaint states. “By that time, [Wallace’s] physical injuries had healed enough so that there was no visible bruising or other damage and the Inspector General concluded that [Wallace’s] complaint was without merit.”
Wallace had been locked up for around two months when the alleged assault happened. He was arrested on September 20, 2012 and faced charges of second-degree robbery and third-degree misdemeanor assault. A judge set his bail at $50,001, according to Department of Correction records. Like many inmates, he was–and still is–at Rikers awaiting trial.
The correction officers pulled Wallace out of the medication line sometime between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m, according to the complaint. The group of guards included Lewis and his supervisor “Captain Williams.”
The guards took Wallace, as well as “a few other inmates,” to “Housing Area 1 Main” for the searches. At that point Wallace “was separated from the other inmates and he was alone ordered to go into the bathroom.”
The complaint does not note any guard other than Lewis accompanying Wallace to the bathroom. Lewis ordered Wallace to remove his clothes, squat down, and cough. After that, the guard told Lewis to “bend over and spread his buttocks for inspection of the anus,” the complaint states, claiming that Lewis then said, “Do that shit right motherfucker.”
As he removed the flashlight from his waist belt, Lewis allegedly said “hold them the fuck open.” Then he stuck the flashlight in, “causing pain, bruising, as well as psychological trauma.”
Lewis, Williams, five unnamed guards, and the city are listed as defendants. We reached out to the city’s legal counsel on Wednesday afternoon and are currently awaiting a response.
Wallace’s legal representation served the city a notice of claims in February. He is set to sue the defendants for claims including assault and battery, negligence, and civil rights violations.
Read the complain in full on the next page:
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 10, 2013