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Family of Rikers Island inmate who died in custody files $20 million lawsuit

Rikers Island entrance sign, police van
The Department of Corrections has confirmed 11 deaths in custody so far in 2022. J.C.Rice

Rikers Island inmate who died choking on her slice of orange in prison complex The family is suing the city for $20 million.

Herman Diaz, 52,collapsed suddenly after choking on a citrus fruit on March 18,but Manhattan federal court documents show he was in a pinch. There were no police officers overseeing the residential area when it fell.

Other inmates "had to carry Diaz to the infirmary while police looked on. He was left helpless and denied care until it was too late," according to court documents.

The city's Department of Corrections has confirmed 11 deaths in custody so far this year compared to 2021.

"Deaths in custody are a tragedy." Prison problems are long-standing and cannot be solved overnight, and the city is committed to working diligently with court wardens to implement lasting reforms.

Herman Diaz
Herman Diaz died on Rikers Island on March 18. .
Protesters block traffic along Broadway expressing their anger over the conditions at Rikers Island jail.
Matthew McDermott

26 July Rikers Island imprisonment 's family has filed a $50 million claim by the family of Mary Yehudah, who died in custody in May. Notice of Claim to City, Preserving Woman's Death Was Preventable.