A newly released surveillance video (below) shows inmate Carlos Mercado slowly dying from a lack of insulin caused by his diabetes at Rikers Island jail in New York City on Aug. 24, 2013.
Mercado was originally arrested on Aug. 23 for allegedly trying to sell a small amount of heroin to undercover police in Brooklyn.
According to the surveillance video posted by The New York Times, Mercado was processed into the jail on Aug. 23 at 6:54 p.m. He collapsed outside his cell at 10:45 p.m., and lay on the concrete for about three minutes as a correction officer walked over him. At 11:16 p.m., the inmates lined up outside their cells for dinner, but Mercado did not.
A witness identified as "J.M" said Mercado asked correction officers numerous times to see a doctor because he was diabetic.
At 12:31 a.m. on Aug. 24, Mercado told officers that he was a diabetic and not feeling well. A correction officer reportedly told Mercado, "No, you're withdrawing."
Mercado and other inmates were taken to the jail’s main clinic for a medical screening at 6:34 a.m. Paramedics were called at 8:25 a.m. by a correction officer, but a nurse reportedly claimed Mercado did not need immediate attention. Mercado was pronounced dead at 9:36 a.m.
“It’s so shocking, and yet so routine,” David Rankin, a lawyer representing Mercado’s sister, Linda Mercado, told NY Daily News.
“Nobody should have to die like that,” Linda added. “All he was asking for was his medicine. That’s all he needed. He would be here today.”
The Department of Correction and New York State Commission of Correction blamed the correction officers in investigation reports, which are included in the lawsuit papers filed by Rankin on behalf on Linda.
Correction Officer Eric Jacobs, who allegedly stepped over Mercado twice, reportedly told investigators that Mercado “must have given some indication that he was alright,” but Jacobs admitted that he didn't recall Mercado ever giving that indication.
The lawsuit papers claim that correction officers Maurice Brown, Jacobs, Reginald Faulkner and Brian Chin lied to investigators and violated inmate care rules.
The Department of Correction recommended re-training the officers. No criminal charges have been filed against them.