DOC Captain Beat Rikers Inmate, Enlisted Officers to Cover it up: Bronx DA

What to Know

  • A DOC captain and four officers have been indicted for allegedly covering up the beating of an inmate at Rikers Island
  • The inmate was beaten so badly in the summer of 2016 that some of his teeth were broken, the Bronx DA alleges
  • The indictments come days after two former correction officers were convicted of badly beating an inmate and covering it up

A captain for the city Department of Correction has been indicted for allegedly beating an inmate at Rikers Island last year until some of his teeth were broken, and four correction officers have been accused of helping the captain cover up the crime, authorities say.

DOC Captain Sandy Arkhurst, 42, was arraigned Thursday on assault charges, Bronx DA Darcel Clark announced in a release.

Arkhurst and the four officers — John Penafiel, 29, Christopher Squillaro, 31, Orlando Rivera, 58, and Michael Nicholson, 42 — were also indicted on counts of falsifying business records.

The complaint alleges Arkhurst beat 18-year-old inmate Rodolfo Rodriguez with his fists and a wooden baton and also kicked him in June 2016 after Rodriguez refused to enter his housing area. Officer Nicholson then allegedly pepper-sprayed the inmate.

Rodriguez suffered several broken teeth and bruises, the complaint says. Audio of the incident reportedly captures him screaming and saying, “No…Chill.”

After the incident, Arkhurst and the four correction officers filed DOC Use of Force reports that falsely claimed Rodriguez banged his head on the wall and attacked Arkhurst while trying to run out of the room, the complaint alleges.

In the DA’s release, Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters called the alleged beating and cover-up the “ultimate abuse of power” and a “vicious and deceitful scenario we’ve seen too many times over the course of our years-long investigations of DOC.”

It wasn’t immediately known if Arkhurst or the four officers had attorneys who could comment on the case.

The indictments come days after two former correction officers were convicted of beating a New York state prison inmate so severely he was hospitalized for two weeks and then covering up the attack.

Contact Us