Gay Man’s Death at Rikers Leads to Suspensions
Department of Correction suspends captain, two offi cers as investigation continues
BY MATT TRACY
The Department of Correction
(DOC) has suspended
a captain and
two correction offi cers
as part of an investigation into the
death of out gay 24-year-old Esias
“Izzy” Johnson at Rikers on September
7, according to an agency
The suspensions were handed
down after Johnsons’ family and
their attorney told Gay City News
that he was experiencing stomach
pain in the time leading up to his
death but received no medical help.
“Inmates said he had been
screaming all night for help, and
come morning time, he couldn’t
get out of bed,” Johnson’s mother,
Tracy Johnson, told Gay City News
in September. “He never got out of
bed for breakfast.”
According to the DOC, suspensions
Three individuals within the Department of Correction have been suspended following the death of
Esias “Izzy” Johnson.
were issued in response to
evidence at the time of the incident,
and formal charges — if warranted
— would be formalized when the
investigation is complete. New York
City’s chief medical examiner has
yet to determine a cause of death.
Johnson, who had Aspergers
Syndrome, had spent a month trying
to get out of Rikers following
a misdemeanor arrest in the city,
but the family’s attorney, Jamie
Santana, said he was restricted
from release due to a separate
case stemming from New Jersey.
Still, Johnson’s mother told Gay
City News that jail offi cials failed
to bring Johnson to his court appointments,
further dragging out a
fatal month-long stay at Rikers.
“He said he had problems with
his court dates,” Johnson’s mother
said last month. “He wasn’t being
taken to them… He said, ‘I’m missing
court dates like crazy, mom,
they’re not doing anything.’”
Johnson’s family is awaiting the
results of a toxicology report and
Santana is vowing to pursue legal
“We do believe that Rikers was
negligent with respect to the duty
of care,” Santana told Gay City
News on September 20.
Johnson’s funeral took place on
September 25 in his hometown of
for the flu.
Right time for
a flu shot.
If you are
or may be
If you are
If you have
COVID-19 has taught us that
we all need to be protected.
A flu shot helps protect
you and your family.
For more information and to find a location to
get your flu shot, visit nyc.gov/flu or call 311.
Bill de Blasio
Dave A. Chokshi, MD MSc
GayCityNews.com | October 7 - October 20, 2021 5