An inmate in New York City died Tuesday after jumping 50 feet from what is believed to be the country's only floating jail. Gregory Acevedo, 48, scaled a fence and crawled through razor wire before leaping from the rooftop recreation yard of the 625-foot jail barge known as the Vernon C. Bain Center, which is anchored in the East River off the Bronx's southern shore, across from Rikers Island, reports the New York Daily News. He fell 50 feet and "was gone when he hit the water," a Correction Department source tells the outlet. Acevedo was unresponsive and in cardiac arrest when officers with the NYPD harbor unit got him to a Rikers Island pier, per the Daily News.
He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Queens hospital at 10:59pm, just over 11 hours after his leap, according to Correction Commissioner Louis Molina, who described the death as an "immense loss." "We are conducting a preliminary investigation of this incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones at this difficult time," he added, per the New York Post. Acevedo's lawyer, Warren Silverman, said it was a "massive failure" for Correction Department officers, who'd pepper-sprayed the inmate while he was on the jail fence. "I mean, he shouldn't have been able to get to any position where he could have harmed himself," Silverman said. "Clearly they dropped the ball, as usual."
Acevedo served 20 years in prison following a 1995 conviction for attempted murder, robbery, and assault. He was also convicted of escape charges. He was paroled in 2016 but arrested on a robbery and assault charge in Queens on Feb. 26. He allegedly stole tools from a vehicle and, when confronted, attacked the owners with screwdrivers. He was being held without bail. He's the 15th person to die in the custody of the NYC Correction Department this year. The city has been working to reform its jails ahead of a court hearing that may decide whether control is transferred away from the city to a corrections expert appointed by a federal judge, per the Daily News and the City. (Read more New York City stories.)