Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-07-10
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

New York, Dept. of Correction Pays Victim $280K After Attack at Rikers
2018-09-12

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


( New York, Sept. 12, 2018 ) —Lambda Legal client Thomas Hamm, brutally attacked while he visited his incarcerated partner at a men's facility on Rikers Island, was awarded $280,000 in the resolution of a federal lawsuit against the City of New York and New York City Department of Correction, its officers and supervisors. In addition to monetary damages, the lawsuit settlement includes a nondiscrimination statement on the record and instructions to Rikers Island officers on the policy for visitors.

"I went to visit my partner but ended up being harassed and assaulted in the visitors' room by correction officers at Rikers because I am gay. They beat me quite severely that day. I will carry the physical scars from the facial fractures forever, but the larger scars of discrimination and anti-gay violence are what I hope to heal — or begin to heal - as a result of this settlement. I do not want anyone else to ever suffer this type of abuse at the hands of official New York City personnel, security or staff. As a New Yorker, I stand up for everyone in the hopes that this will not happen again," Mr. Hamm said.

"Today's settlement sends a strong message that correction officers are not above the law. No one — not an inmate or a visitor — forfeits the right to safety when passing through the gates of a jail or prison. The attack on Thomas Hamm, a private citizen, was unlawful and brutal and the cause was anti-gay violence and discrimination," said Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan.

He continued, "For far too long, violence, discrimination and abuse of power have been the rule at Rikers Island. New York City's Department of Correction has continuously failed to protect the safety and well-being of those in its care, whether they are incarcerated or visiting. We are pleased to have achieved this modicum of justice for Mr. Hamm."

"Visits to incarcerated people from their loved ones should be encouraged as research shows how important connection to family and friends is for ensuring people successful re-entry into society after release from custody. Who those loved ones are should not interfere with this right. Department of Correction officials do not get to harass and discriminate against people visiting the prison for any reason, including sexual orientation or gender identity," Lambda Legal Staff Attorney and Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct Strategist Richard Saenz stated.

"For decades, the corruption and abuse at Rikers Island targeting incarcerated LGBT people—most of whom are black and brown—has gone unchecked. We are hopeful this resolution will make it harder for this kind of discrimination and brutality to continue," said David B. Rankin, Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP Partner and Lambda Legal's Co-Counsel in the case.

The terms of the settlement include a statement on the record from New York City that their policy is to treat all visitors to DOC facilities equally regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, instructions for DOC officers at Rikers Island on the nondiscrimination policy for visitors, and a payment of $280,000 to Mr. Hamm.

On May 9, 2014, a gay man and New York City citizen, Thomas Hamm, went to visit his partner of many years at Rikers Island. When Mr. Hamm greeted his partner with a hug and a kiss, the couple were ordered by correction officers to stop embracing, even though other visitors around them were allowed to embrace. The Department of Correction "Directive on Inmate Visit Procedures" states that "inmates and visitors are permitted to kiss, embrace and hold hands." The harassment by Department of Correction staff continued when the couple held hands at the table where they were visiting, like many other couples around them were also doing. The correction officers on duty called Mr. Hamm and his partner "faggots" and ordered them to stop holding hands. The officers on duty then abruptly ordered the end of the visit.

As Mr. Hamm was preparing to leave the facility, one of the correction officers who had been harassing the couple said to Mr. Hamm, in sum and substance, "Fucking homosexual, who the fuck do you think you are?" and "You'll burn in hell." As Mr. Hamm tried to go, the correction officers grabbed him and viciously beat him, repeatedly punching and kicking him. As his head bled profusely, Mr. Hamm begged the officers to stop. Finally, Mr. Hamm was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he was shackled to his bed overnight and diagnosed with facial fractures and head trauma. After his discharge from the hospital, Department of Correction officers took Mr. Hamm back to Rikers, where he was given an order banning him from visiting the facility for 180 days.

Consistent with other reports of notorious violence and cover-ups by correction officers and officials at Rikers, the perpetrators claimed that the 5'6" Mr. Hamm tried to strike an officer during the initial incident. They also omitted to report the violence enacted on him that required hospitalization. Adding further insult to brutal injury, Mr. Hamm was falsely charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment. The charges were dismissed.

Today's settlement is based on an October 2015 complaint brought against both the City of New York and its Department of Correction officers. The complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleged the denial and violation of Mr. Hamm's federal civil rights under the Constitution's First, Fourth and 14th Amendments, as well as his New York State civil rights, including the New York Human Rights Law, when the correction officers on duty at the Riker's Visitors Center singled him out among all other visitors that day for discriminatory treatment. That treatment subsequently led to a vicious attack that left Mr. Hamm severely injured.

For more information about the case, please visit https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/ny_hamm-v-city-of-new-york.

Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney and Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct Strategist Richard Saenz and Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP Partner David B. Rankin served as counsel to Mr. Hamm on the case and its settlement.

—From a press releae

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

CPD seeks comments on firearms policy 2019-07-17 - The Chicago Police Department unveiled a draft of the firearm pointing incidents policy on July 16, after reviewing and incorporating feedback from the ...


Gay News

Groping case against Kevin Spacey dropped 2019-07-17 - On July 16, Massachusetts prosecutors dropped the groping case against Kevin Spacey, CBS Boston reported. Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said ...


Gay News

Minimum wage raise would increase earnings for 1.5 million LGBT adults 2019-07-17 - On Thursday, the US House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Raise the Wage Act. The Williams Institute at UCLA School ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Miss Major ailing, NAACP, crime items, Puerto Rico governor 2019-07-16 - Miss Major Griffin-Gracy—a Stonewall Riots veteran and staple in transgender activism for nearly 50 years—suffered a stroke July 4, Out.com reported. News about ...


Gay News

WORLD Alan Turing, Theresa May, UN expert, South Korea military 2019-07-16 - The Bank of England will honor the late gay mathematician/codebreaker Alan Turing on the 50-pound note, LGBTQ Nation reported. After World War II, ...


Gay News

Lighthouse Church holds racial-justice summit, announces new foundation 2019-07-15 - In the wake of the recent controversy surrounding Boystown's Progress Bar, Lighthouse Church of Chicago UCC held a "Racial Justice Summit: Boystown & ...


Gay News

House passes Military Non-Discrimination Amendment 2019-07-11 - WASHINGTON July 11, 2019 — By a vote of 242-187, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a non-discrimination amendment to the National ...


Gay News

Illinois trans woman freed from prison 2019-07-10 - Strawberry Hampton—a transgender woman who was transferred to multiple Illinois men's prisons after making abuse allegations against inmates and guards—is now free after ...


Gay News

WORLD Canadian school law, Mexico City parade, Indian rape statute 2019-07-10 - The United Conservative government of new Alberta Premier Jason Kenney—promoted by some on the Canadian right as a model for the nation—has passed ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Court briefs, flag burned, Amazon books removed 2019-07-10 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), Lambda Legal, Out & Equal, Out Leadership and Freedom for All Americans announced that 206 major ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.