A Rikers cell death settlement has been reached in the amount of $2.25 million after a homeless veteran died in a mental observation unit on Rikers Island when his cell overheated. The man’s family will receive the multi-million dollar settlement after his 75-year-old mother Alma filed paperwork to sue the city for $25 million over her son’s death in a Rikers cell that reached 101 degrees Fahrenheit during his incarceration, according to CBS News.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Jerome Murdough died when faulty equipment caused his Rikers cell to reach temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. The 56-year-old former U.S. Marine suffered from mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, that frequently led to psychotic episodes and seizures. A vent located inside the man’s cell was supposed to circulate the air, but it was closed.
Murdough was inside the overheated cell after being arrested for trespassing. The homeless man had been caught trying to take shelter from the elements by sleeping in the stairwell of a low-income housing project on a cold winter night. He couldn’t afford the $2,500 bail that it would have taken for his release.
Officials were reportedly aware of the problem with Murdough’s cell overheating, but the problem was put aside over a long holiday weekend. Before the issue could be resolved, the former U.S. Marine was dead from hyperthermia, which may have been exacerbated by his medication, psychotropic drugs to treat his bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. By the time his lifeless body was found, his internal body temperature had reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and he was lying in a pool of blood and vomit.
Murdough’s death in a hot Rikers cell was ruled accidental. However, the City of New York opted for the $2.25 million settlement without admitting liability. His family will not be able to pursue further litigation against the city over his unfortunate demise.
According to the New York Daily News, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer offered his condolences to the deceased veteran’s mother, who was represented in the matter by attorney Derek Sells. Stringer also apologized on behalf of the city.
“On behalf of the City of New York, I’m sorry, Ms. Murdough, for your loss. I hope that in some small measure, it will provide closure for Mrs. Murdough and her family.”
A mother has lost her son. Do you think the $2.25 million Rikers cell death settlement was fair justice for the death of a homeless veteran? Comments are welcome.
[Image via Hezakya Newz/YouTube screenshot]