3 More Rikers Guards Found Guilty in Beating of Inmate in 2012

The attack began after Jamal Lightfoot allegedly stared down the jail's assistant chief of security during an inmate search

Three additional Rikers Island correction officers on trial for crimes related to the beating of an inmate who stared down a jail official have been found guilty, according to the Bronx district attorney's office. 

Captain Gerald Vaughn was found guilty of all counts he faced in the beating of Jamal Lightfoot, who suffered broken teeth and eye sockets and a nose fracture in the 2012 attack. Officers Harmon Frierson and Dwayne Maynard were both found guilty of official misconduct. 

On Tuesday, five other guards were found guilty of all charges in the beating of Lightfoot. A sixth correction officer was acquitted of all charges.

The attack started after officers responding to two slashings at the sprawling complex began searching inmates, tossing over mattresses and rifling around cells for contraband.

During the search, Lightfoot made eye contact with the jail's assistant chief of security. Angered by the stare-down, the assistant chief shouted to a captain and five officers Lightfoot "thinks he's tough" and should be attacked, Bronx prosecutors said.

The assistant chief, a captain and eight other officers were later charged in a 53-count indictment that includes attempted gang assault, evidence tampering and other charges.

Prosecutors had alleged that the officers cooked up a plan on how to explain Lightfoot's injuries and wrote false use-of-force reports and witnesses statements that claimed Lightfoot had slashed an officer with a sharpened piece of metal. Three of the officers are accused of aiding in a cover-up.

The group was suspended from the force after they were arrested but the Daily News reported Tuesday that seven of the officers were reinstated with pay on Feb. 8.

The judge presiding over the case signed a gag order in February prohibiting lawyers in the case from commenting.

New York City Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte said he had "zero tolerance for any illegal behavior on the part of staff" and that officers convicted of felonies would be terminated. He said he's confident the department is taking the right step toward reforming Rikers.

The trial came amid ever-increasing scrutiny on the city's jail system. NBC 4 New York's I-Team uncovered accounts from visitors who were strip-searched, and it was recently reported that a woman who was later acquitted of charges was forced to spend two years in solitary confinement. Politicians had also suggested closing the jail complex earlier this year.

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