Lab Tests Confirm Rat Poisoning In Rikers Island Food

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A group of Rikers Island inmates ​claim corrections officers spiked their meatloaf with rat poison​ — possibly to avenge the attempted rape of a​ female jail guard​. The 19 prisoners allege​ in a Brooklyn federal lawsuit​ that they fell violently ill after being served meals in their housing unit on March 3 during a three-day lockdown stemming from the attempted sex attack, court papers state.

“Some of the inmates kept the food as evidence,” their lawyer, Joann Squillace said. “I personally saw what looked like blue pellets — especially in the meatloaf.” The attorney said medical staff told the prisoners they ate rat poison. Squillace said that a prisoner is usually assigned to assist Rikers staff in preparing and distributing meals — but that inmate claims he was suspiciously barred from taking part in the process that day.

The suit claims that no medical attention was provided, despite the obvious suffering. A corrections source denied the mass illness. “We have no indication that the inmates in question suffered from a food-borne illness,” said the source. The lockdown came after convicted rapist Raleek Young, 27, dragged a corrections officer into a bathroom and attempted to rape her. She was rescued when other inmates intervened in the attack. It’s not clear if any of the rescuers were made ill.


The lawyer for 19 inmates suing the city Department of Correction after they were sickened by meatloaf they were served at Rikers Island, says laboratory testing has confirmed there was rat poison in the food.

A sample of the meatloaf preserved by plaintiff Reginald Dupree was analyzed at EMSL Analytical in New Jersey and found to contain Brodifacoum, an anti-coagulant that is marketed as rodenticide, according to the lab report provided to The Daily News.

“There’s no justification for rat poison to be in an inmate’s food whatsoever,” the inmates’ lawyer, Joanne Squillace said.

The city Department of Correction is investigating the incident and conducting separate testing of the meatloaf. The city’s testing is being performed by an outside lab because the Department of Health was not equipped to analyze what appeared to be blue and green pellets in the meatloaf.

A city source close to the case, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation said: “It is premature to draw any conclusions about test results from samples provided by the plaintiff inmates that the city has not analyzed and verified. After the initial (lawsuit) filing, a judge said the inmates did not face immediate harm and it was unlikely that their legal claims had merit.”

Squillace filed a lawsuit in March in Brooklyn Federal Court alleging inmates were stricken with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding after eating the meatloaf on March 3 at the Anna M. Kross jail, and they were not provided proper medical treatment.

Brodifacoum is marketed under a variety of trade names including d-CON, Finale, Havoc, Pestoff, Rodend and Rataquill Colombia, the lab report notes.

Squillace said when the meatloaf was sealed in the bag when she received it from Dupree and that’s the way it was delivered to the lab.

“As officers of the court, we would never fabricate evidence,” she said.

A chunk of meatloaf stashed in a soft drink bottle by another inmate did not have enough of the mystery substance to test, according to the lab report.




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