When the Sheriff Obstructs Justice
Nassau Sheriff covers up a drug and weapons smuggling ring in the jail, guard stabbed
At a jail, safety is the number one priority. Everyone from the employees to the inmates are inspected and face restrictions on what they can and cannot bring into restricted areas. At the Nassau County Jail, the Corrections Officers Benevolent Association (Nassau COBA) is worried that Sheriff Michael Sposato has failed in this duty following the potential cover up of a smuggling ring within the jail.
The breach was found in December of 2015 when a nurse was found to be a part of a scheme to bring a lighters, cell phones, narcotics and razor blades into a restricted area. Following an investigation, the nurse, who worked for embattled sub-contractor Armor, was fired and criminal charges where pending. Following the dismissal of the nurse, the Nassau Sheriff publicly patted himself on the back for a successful investigation. Brian Sullivan, President of Nassau COBA, says it is unclear if this is the true story. Allegations have recently come to light that the Sheriff may have kept information from Nassau DA Madeline Singas, preventing a full criminal prosecution against the Nurse. Instead COBA worries, that he may have tried to cover up what happened at the jail to prevent any further bad press about Armor Health Services and his Administration".
Beyond a cover up, Sullivan worries about the safety of his members. He says that in the year since the nurse was caught smuggling contraband into the jail, the Sheriff has refused to order a facility wide search for weapons and contraband such as razor blades. This is not the first time that Nassau COBA has been worried about the safety of the jail. In August, UCOMM reported that the corrections officers where so fed up with the Sheriff’s lack of response to simple safety changes that they picketed outside of the jail. Since then it seems to have gotten worse. At a press conference on the steps of the Nassau Legislature in Mineola New York, Sullivan said that just in the last week and half there have been four inmate slashings with razor blades. He also said that over the weekend one of his members was stabbed by a hypodermic needle. After the officer was stabbed, a small search was done in the immediate area and more needles were found, but a full prison wide search has yet to be conducted. Sullivan went on to say that early indications are that the needle is the same type used by Armor at the jail. The COBA member who was stabbed is a father of a 7 year old girl.
Sources previously told Newsday that the only reason the nurse was ultimately arrested and charged was because the District Attorney’s office found out about the case and launched an independent probe. Sullivan sent a letter to Singas to get further clarification on the matter and to see if the Sheriff was actively trying to obstruct justice with the case.
For Sullivan, this case is about more than just keeping violence at bay in the jail, it is about protecting his members lives. As violence increases in the jail his members are put at the most risk. By trying to cover up a weapons and drug smuggling ring the Sheriff is essentially telling those in the jail that he cares more about his personal image than he does the lives of those who work in the jail. For the corrections officer who was stuck by a needle this weekend, he is at home taking high doses of medications and praying that he not contracted a life threating disease from the needle.