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Yet Another Person Dies at Rikers – the 3rd Death in July and the 25th Death in City Jails Under Mayor Adams 

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Sunday, July 16, 2023

Contact: Yonah Zeitz, • 347-201-2769

Follow on Twitter @KatalCenter • #ShutRikers #CloseRikers #CutShutInvestNY

Yet Another Person Dies at Rikers – the 3rd Death in July and the 25th Death in City Jails Under Mayor Adams 

Death Comes After New Federal Monitor’s Report Calls for Adams Administration to be Held in Contempt for Pervasive Dysfunction and Failing to Improve Conditions 

Statement by Katal Center 

New York, NY: Last night, news broke that William Johnstone, who was incarcerated at the George R. Vierno Center jail on Rikers Island, passed away at age 47. This is the 25th death in New York City jails since Mayor Eric Adams took office and the third death in July.

Statement from Melanie Dominguez, Lead Organizer of the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice: “It is truly heartbreaking that yet another person has died while being incarcerated at Rikers Island. Mr. Johnstone was legally innocent and incarcerated on a $40,000 bail while awaiting trial. We send our deepest condolences to Mr. Johnstone’s family and loved one’s.

Within the last two weeks, three people have passed away in the custody of the Department of Correction, bringing the total death toll under Mayor Adams to 25 human beings. Far too many lives have been lost. New Yorkers are grieving, yet this administration remains committed to sending more Black, brown, and low-income New Yorkers to Rikers while continuing to remove transparency and accountability from within city jails. It’s sickening.

The conditions in the city’s jail system are horrific and life-threatening. Mayor Adams has turned his back on the most vulnerable New Yorkers and their loved ones. To stop the suffering and deaths, Mayor Adams must reduce the city’s jail population and shut down Rikers. The City Council must also take action to address the crisis by immediately passing Resolution 669, which calls for federal receivership. Until Rikers is closed, the federal courts must appoint a receiver to take over and improve conditions for people who are detained or employed there. Lives are at stake. New Yorkers deserve safety and justice, not criminalization, racism, and deadly conditions at Rikers.”

####ShutRikers #CloseRikers #CutShutInvestNY

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