Things That Matter

Four Guards At Rikers Island Have Been Suspended Because They Are Believed To Have Let An Teenager Commit Suicide

Four New York City Rikers Island correction officers, including a captain, have been suspended for knowingly failing to intervene in a teen detainee’s suicide attempt for seven minutes. The night before Thanksgiving, Nicholas Feliciano, 18, was jumped by seven other inmates and left with a gash on his face. Instead of taking him to the infirmary, guards placed him in a holding cell where he hung himself from a pipe with his shirt. Whistleblowers from the prison have told The New York Times that one guard actually opened Feliciano’s cell door to find him hanging from the pipe, closed the door, and walked away. A witness told The New York Times that, after Feliciano stepped off the toilet partition, he changed his mind and tried to find the partition to free himself from the makeshift noose. Feliciano hung for seven minutes without any intervention, and it was more than a half-hour before paramedics were able to whisk him away from the prison complex. 

Feliciano was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was put into an induced coma on Tuesday. He has yet to show signs of brain activity.

At first, the Department of Corrections wouldn’t allow Feliciano’s family to visit him in the hospital.

CREDIT: LEGAL AID SOCIETY

The Legal Aid Society, which has taken up Feliciano’s case, penned a letter to the DOC to request charges against the teen be dropped. “This is unacceptable. He poses no security risk and needs his family at his bedside at this critical time,” the letter reads. According to Legal Aid Society, the family had to wait to be cleared by DOC to visit him, were not allowed to bring anything inside his hospital room, or even photograph him. 

In response, the New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision canceled Feliciano’s parole warrant.

CREDIT: @LEGALAIDNYC / TWITTER

That meant that Feliciano was no longer in the custody of the state, and his family was free to visit him at their leisure. “We are relieved that the New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision canceled the parole warrant pending against Nicholas Feliciano, our client who is still battling for his life at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens,” reads a statement from The Legal Aid Society. The organization maintains that the act is too little too late for the much more serious “concerns over the New York City Department of Correction’s failure to properly screen and address Mr. Feliciano’s mental health issues, which were known to the City at the time of his remand,” the statement continues. 

Feliciano was charged with robbery, but because of his age, the court gave him a short sentence and kept his criminal record sealed. Within weeks of his release, Feliciano had violated his parole by testing positive for drugs, skipping mandated programs, attempting to purchase a gun, and traveling past state lines to visit a girlfriend. When Feliciano arrived at his parole meeting, he was taken into custody and scheduled to be arraigned more than a month later. The Legal Aid Society of New York is using Feliciano as a tragic example for “the need for Albany to enact comprehensive parole reform legislation immediately next session to address cases like Nicholas’, where the alleged violation of parole does not rise to the level of a new criminal charge.”

Feliciano has a history of mental illness, including suicide attempts, says the Legal Aid Society. 

CREDIT: @RENTALSINMIAMI / TWITTER

According to The New York Times’s report, Feliciano was taken out of the general population holding area after getting into a fight in order to get him medical attention. He waited for six hours in a holding cell without medical attention. An hour before he attempted suicide, he was taken out of a two-person cell and placed in a cell by himself. An hour and a half later, he was hanging off a pipe while correction officers stood by. An off-duty captain saw closed-circuit surveillance footage of Feliciano hanging and rushed to take him down. According to The New York Times, an official said Feliciano didn’t have a pulse for two minutes. 

In response, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, “The people in our jails are human beings. Their well-being is our responsibility. These allegations are deeply troubling. The 3 officers and their supervisor have been suspended and an investigation is underway. We’re taking immediate action.” The New York City Council voted October 17 to close Rikers prison complex and the chapter on its disturbing human rights violations.

READ: NYC Determines Layleen Polanco’s Death Might Have Had To Do With Her State In Solitary Confinement

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New York Times Square New Years Eve Celebration Canceled

Culture

New York Times Square New Years Eve Celebration Canceled

Stefano / Flickr

For the first time in 114 years, the Times Square New Years Eve party has been canceled. The famous New Year’s Eve gathering is a major part of the New Year’s Eve celebration with people cramming into Times Square to watch the ball drop to mark the new year. This year, everything about the celebration is changing because of Covid.

New Year’s Eve in Times Square has been canceled.

The in-person celebration with crowds packing into the intersection to watch the ball drop is going virtual. Like the Emmys earlier this month, and countless other events, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration is all virtual. The decision to cancel the in-person part of the Times Square Ball Drop is, well, Covid, of course.

“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st,” Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement. “But this year there will be significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever limited live entertainment or experiences – still in development — will take place in Times Square. And because any opportunity to be live in Times Square will be pre-determined and extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be the opportunity to participate virtually wherever you are.”

We still don’t have a lot of details about the virtual aspect of New Year’s Eve, we are all waiting.

According to a statement, the organizers realize that Covid has been the dominating force of 2020. The celebration always includes aspects of the major events from the previous year into the experience. The socially distanced handful of honorees and lack of an audience is a clear representation of the still real Covid crisis.

Some people are really upset about the decision to cancel the celebration.

It is one of those iconic moments so many people dream of doing. It is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for so many. The Times Square Ball Drop is something that most Americans recognize thanks to the dominant role the ball drop played on New Year’s Eve growing up. It is basically tradition to have the NYE party playing on the TV.

New Yorkers are confused about why anyone would want to do that.

New Yorkers avoid Times Square at all costs. It isn’t a convenient or super enjoyable part of town. It is packed with tourists who don’t know where they are going and NYE is about the worst it gets for Times Square. Now, the ball drop is impressive and something so many people consider an iconic moment in the holiday celebration.

“We will miss everyone this year but we will bring our celebration to you, whether you want to turn off and turn away from the bad news of 2020, or turn to the new year with a sense of hope, renewal and resolution, you’ll be able to join us virtually like never before as part of the Times Square 2021 celebration,” Jeff Straus, President of Countdown Entertainment, said in a statement.

But, mainly, people just want 2020 to be over.

This year has been a hard year for so many. People have lost their jobs and their loved ones as the virus runs through the U.S. Covid-19 is still a real threat to people, especially the vulnerable population.

READ: Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

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Bad Bunny’s Concert Parade Made History And Shined A Light On Latino Communities In NYC

Entertainment

Bad Bunny’s Concert Parade Made History And Shined A Light On Latino Communities In NYC

Emma McIntyre / Getty Images

Leave it to Bad Bunny to elevate the art of a virtual concert with his first live performance in this era of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The beloved San Benito performed a concert on the back of a flatbed truck slowly driving through the Bronx, Washington Heights, and Harlem. The reggaetonero’s set was streamed as part of Uforia’s monthly music series, through which the music outlet, owned by Univision, has lined up concerts to the end of the year. “It was difficult for me to do a concert without an audience. I didn’t want to,” Bad Bunny said during the show, according to Billboard. “But I’m accepting the new reality and I hope people enjoy this. We need it.”

Based upon the hype and reviews, it’s obvious that we the people loved it.

Bad Bunny’s free NYC concert made history as he paraded across the city in a flatbed truck.

Bad Bunny’s moving concert, which started outside Yankee Stadium and at certain points had him literally ducking under traffic light and bridges, was livestreamed on the Uforia app and his own YouTube channel. The hit concert featured songs off his February album YHLQMDLG, including “Si Veo a Tu Mamá,” “La Difícil,” and “Pero Ya No,” among others.

The history-making performance concluded outside Harlem Hospital, where the rapper thanked front-line medical workers for their efforts during the coronavirus quarantine, and performed his song “Yo Perreo Sola.”

“Respect and thanks to those people who have sacrificed their lives in this city,” Bad Bunny told the crowd, per Billboard. “With a lot of faith in God, I sense that good things are coming. I know we are going through very difficult times. I have made thousands of mistakes, but my only mission is to try to be a better person every day.”

The hit concert coincided with the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria.

Bad Bunny’s concert was a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month but it also fell on the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Bad Bunny’s home of Puerto Rico. He thanked Latinos for supporting him and offered words of encouragement during the pandemic.

“With a lot of faith in God, I sense that good things are coming,” he added. “I know we are going through very difficult times, but I have hope that people doing things with their heart, spirit, faith and hope, we’re going to move forward.”

Bad Bunny was joined by virtual appearances from reggaeton stars J Balvin, Sech and Mora. The show was produced by Univision’s Uforia, the radio broadcasting and music events division of the company. 

“We are extremely excited to celebrate the richness of Latinx culture during Hispanic Heritage Month with this one-of-a-kind live streaming experience, and also commemorate the Puerto Rico community’s resilience on the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria, in partnership with Verizon,” Jesus Lara, president of radio at Univision, said in a statement. “We are proud to showcase the artistry of Bad Bunny who has had such a profound impact on our culture and the music industry at large.”

Imagine being the lucky resident of this building with a view like this…

A live stream showed the Latin Grammy award-winning artist dodging traffic lights and excited fans chasing him down streets with their cellphones in hand in New York City. 

El Conejo Malo literally brought the concert to people’s doorsteps. He also used the concert as a chance to shine a light on his native Puerto Rico and the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria that devastated the area. P.R. is still in recovery he mentioned. As the sun went down, Benito tore through the hits from his first album X 100pre like “Ni Bien Ni Bien,” “Sólo de Mí,” and “Romana”.

Although Coronavirus has had a major impact on the music industry, Bad Bunny has found ways to keep himself plenty busy.

CREDIT: EMMA MCINTYRE / GETTY IMAGES

Despite spending most of the year in quarantine in his native Puerto Rico, Bad Bunny has been extremely busy. From gracing magazine covers and making history in the process to surprise releasing an entire album, Bad Bunny has kept his fans on their toes.

The reggaetonero was also set to perform two sold-out shows on October 30-31 at San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn stadium, but they’ve been canceled in the wake of Covid-19. So this was the first chance for San Benito fans to witness live renditions from his record-breaking 2020 album YHLQMDLG, and his follow-up surprise album Las Que No Iban a Salir.

The “Yo Perrea Sola” singer also collaborated with Dua Lipa, J Balvin, and Tainy on a hit single, “Un Día (One Day)”. He’s also set to be recognized with the Hispanic Heritage Award for Vision in recognition for his impact as an artist and activist.

You can rewatch the full show here.

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