A seventeenth person has reportedly died on the Rikers Island jail complex this year — surpassing the number of in-custody deaths the New York City’s Department of Correction saw in 2021.
Erick Tavira, 28, died Saturday while in custody at the George R. Vierno Center, the city reported. His cause of death will be determined by the city’s medical examiner.
A count by The New York Times suggests the number of people who have died this year has risen to 17, overtaking the 16 lost in the embattled jail system last year. Internal documents obtained by the Times indicate Tavira was found dead with a sheet wrapped around his neck.
“Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Tavira’s family, friends and loved ones in their time of grief. We take the health and safety of everyone in our custody seriously, and we are conducting a preliminary investigation into this death,” DOC Commissioner Louis Molina said in a statement.
The 28-year-old’s death will be investigated by the State Attorney General’s Office and the NYC Department of Investigation.