Williams Responds To The Thirteenth Death On Rikers Island In 2021

October 16th, 2021

Press Release

"I offer prayers for peace and comfort to the family of Victor Mercado. His passing after contracting COVID-19 is the thirteenth death at Rikers this year amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis. His pre-trial detention became a death sentence.

"Lives are continuing to be lost as our leaders take steps that are too small and too slow. While some recent actions have helped reduce the strain on the system, we can't be content to move in the right direction, it has to be with the right level of urgency.

"It is even more clear today that we must expand decarceration efforts to older individuals and those with health risks, but it also seems clear that if the city and state had done so earlier, a life would have been saved. The crisis conditions on Rikers continue to threaten staff and incarcerated people alike in a health and safety emergency. This is not public safety."

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