Inmates Poisoned By Cake Get A Big Settlement
Carrot cake and sweet potatoes served at a prison ended up making a group of New York City inmates violently ill, and now that’s costing city taxpayers more than $232,000, according to a report from the Daily News.
Sixteen inmates settled a federal lawsuit with the de Blasio administration after they complained food that they were served on Thanksgiving in 2015 was filled with rat poison and therefore made them seriously ill.
At least three of the detainees inside the Brooklyn House of Detention took so sick they ended up passing out and were sent to a local hospital, the court papers allege. Four more inmates were also hospitalized, and underwent CT scans along with having their stomachs pumped, said the inmates’ lawyer, Greg Zenon.
But unfortunately, many of the inmates were forced to suffer inside a locked-down day room and didn’t receive any medical care for hours, as shown by Correction Department records. According to Zenon, “They were purposely denied treatment.”
Officers also tossed most of the suspicious food before department investigators arrived, and as a result, investigators were forced to take samples from the garbage. Tests on that food ended up showing that the tainted food had high levels of Brodifacoum, a highly lethal rat poison.
It still remains unclear who actually put the poison into the inmates’ food.
The culinary nightmare began when an inmate who worked in pest control spotted green pellets in the carrot cake that he recognized as rat poison. A jail officer in charge of the kitchen, known to the inmates only as “Panama,” said the inmate was wrong, and that pellets were clusters of nuts and fruit. According to allegations from the lawsuit, the officer refused to sample the food herself.
Jail officials called a lockdown when they realized some inmates had access to phones and were trying to call both 311 and 911. They ended up rounding up the cake to destroy the evidence, the lawsuit alleges.
Several prisoners said they begged to go to the jail’s health clinic, but their pleas were met with laughter by the staff at the jail. The three inmates who received the largest settlements–$26,000 apiece–went into convulsions and even lost consciousness.
Seven more inmates received $16,000 each, while another three got $10,000 each. The remaining inmates got settlements of $1,500, $750 and $500.
The inmates were initially seeking $1 million each in damages.
Department rules require jail staffers to report suspected food poisoning cases to higher ups within an hour, which didn’t happen in this case.