William Clemons, the top uniformed officer at the infamous Rikers Island jail in New York plans to step down, The New York Times reports today. This blog has followed the allegations of violence and other issues at the troubled jail, so this announcement isn’t exactly a surprise. Clemons was appointed by new commissioner Joseph Ponte, but his appointment came before Ponte says he saw documents from 2012 calling for the resignation of Clemons because he underreported violence at the jail. A new warden is expected to be appointed by Dec. 1.
From the Times article:
Mr. Clemons has faced increasing calls for his resignation since an investigation by The New York Times in September uncovered details from an internal Correction Department audit, which found he had “abdicated all responsibility” in his duties as warden of a juvenile facility at Rikers Island in 2011 where hundreds of inmate fights had been omitted from official statistics. The audit recommended that he be demoted.
Instead, The Times found, he was promoted, multiple times, while the most damning criticisms, including the recommendation of a demotion, were removed from the report by the commissioner at the time.
Mr. Ponte has said he did not see the unedited version of the report before appointing Mr. Clemons chief of department in May. Even so, he promoted Mr. Clemons despite a recommendation against it by the city’s Department of Investigation.