Jail bosses at Rikers have reportedly been "purging" unfavorable stats.
Officials at Rikers Island, specifically Security Chief Turhan Gumusdere, are accused of covering up violent crimes inside the facility in an effort to make it seem as though the troubled jail isn't as bad as it seems.
According to the Daily News, brawls and knife fights between inmates, and even attacks on officers, often end up "airbrushed" in the records. One officer referred to this as a "purging" of unfavorable stats.
The main culprit, critics say, is Security Chief Turhan Gumusdere, a man who has faced scandal in the past for distorting data in the jails by deleting hundreds of fights among inmates from the records when he was a deputy warden.
They also have questions, they say, about Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte, a touted reformer who nonetheless promoted Gumusdere into his job, even after the jail investigator recommended he be demoted.
Front line officers might originally, and appropriately, record an assault as a "violent incident," but when an order arrives to downgrade the events, these claims end up in the ledger as just another workday footnote. There are even instances where officers document the "use of force" while breaking up fights between inmates, which are ultimately scrubbed from the record because they don't qualify.
“They lie about the use of force statistics,” charged an officer who asked to remain anonymous. “This is a practice to keep the stats down.”
In reviewing 11 specific cases, The News found nine downgrades. But according to several jails bosses, this number represents just a fraction of the cases that are skewed. Incidents are often not logged at all, with Gumusdere telling supervisors to “make it go away,” the sources say.
The Department of Corrections denies any wrongdoings or "purging" of unfavorable violent stats, despite the fact that The Daily News has reported a clear pattern where high-ranking jail officials override the judgment of correction officers and doctors.
“Everything is on video,” Gumusdere said. “Everything is on the up and up. I don’t know where all this is coming from. I can tell you one thing. Everything you have is wrong.”
Check out the Daily News' full investigation here.