Brutal video (below) shows the moment that eight inmates at Rikers Island jail in New York jumped another inmate.
In the video, the victim is seen speaking to another man before being attacked by another inmate, who punches him onto the ground. A number of other inmates joined the brawl, and a female correction officer had to wait for backup before breaking up the fight, New York Daily News reports.
The May 1 altercation happened because the inmates, who were members of the Bloods gang, didn't want the newcomer to move into their unit, according to WPIX.
The victim was thrown into a stone pillar before correction officers arrived to drag him away. The other inmates reportedly soon went through the victim's belongings, stealing his things. The man was reported to have suffered no serious injuries from the incident.
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According to the correction officers union, the officer did the right thing by waiting for backup before stopping the fight.
"If she would have used her pepper spray, they all could have turned on her," said Elias Husamudeen, the president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association.
The Department of Corrections is currently making reforms to change how inmates are housed to prevent gang-related and other forms of inmate violence.
"Say we have five inmates of one [gang] affiliation and another five or seven with another [gang] affiliation," said Assistant Deputy Warden Solomon Chester. "We would house them together so there is not an unbalance where one group is holding power over the others."
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The unit where the fight occurred, in the Eric M. Taylor Center, has not yet been reformed.
"This incident is under investigation," said the Department of Corrections in a statement. "However, it was not gang related."
The facility on Rikers Island has come under fire for a number of controversies, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio saying they support closing the jail.
In April, Marc Lazarre, a former inmate at Rikers, filed a lawsuit against a number of officers, saying he had been denied food for two days in solitary confinement, and that his arm had been broken by guards.
"I feared for my life," Lazarre told the New York Daily News. He says he still doesn't have a full range of motion in his left arm. "I was starving. I was dehydrated. I was weak and dizzy."
"We have zero tolerance for the mistreatment of any inmate, and we take such claims seriously," said Peter Thorne, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections. "The vast majority of our officers carry out their duties with care and integrity, and we are taking many steps to ensure that all staff adhere to the highest professionalism."
Warning: This video shows graphic violence.