An hour-long prison riot involving up to 50 inmates was triggered by a disagreement over making a grilled cheese sandwich.

Officers wearing protective gear looked on in horror as the men from rival gangs charged around hurling chairs and using mop sticks and even knives to strike each other. One prisoner repeatedly threw cups of hot water over people.

Guards at New York City’s Rikers Island Prison have been criticised for standing back and not breaking up the wild fight as people got injured.

Staffing at the correction facility has been cut by 20 per cent over the last decade and there were not enough officers to step in and break up the fight, according to a guards’ spokesman.

Speaking to ABC News, which caught the riot on film, Norman Seabrook, president of the guards’ union,  Correction Officers Benevolent Association, said: ‘The only thing they could possibly do at this point is watch… because going down there, they’re subjected to violence that they’re turning on each other, and then they turn on us. Which they’ve done already.’

‘So it clearly shows that there is not enough staff in the department and the management in the department has not trained correction officers properly in how to deal with these types of situations.’

During the video, men are seen storming around an area in the centre of the George R. Vierno department. They are yelling. Most are in the main hall where chairs are constantly being picked up and hurled at each other.

In the distance, down some stairs, another group can be seen throwing things back, anything.

Around them, men on an upper gangway also lob down chairs, some hitting those in the main hall.

To begin with, the filming is taking place at the back of the hall, behind a number of officers kitted out in riot gear.

But as the violence escalates the officers and the cameraman retreat to the safety of another room and watch on from behind a glass wall.

One guard is heard saying the fight has already been going on for half and hour.

The New York Daily News said 11 inmates were injured–some serious with stab wounds. One officer also sustained injuries.

The news service said two gangs were involved in the fighting: members of the Trinitarians, a Dominican gang, and their rival Crips.

The Trinitarians were allegedly angry that the Crips were not letting them use a hot plate to cook grilled cheese sandwiches and the fight broke out at around 9.20pm on Wednesday.

It finally cooled down after 10pm, when the mob calmed down and many needed medical attention.

According to ABC News, 32 inmates were disciplined; some were criminally charged.

The Correction Department told ABC: ‘There is every indication that this situation could have been handled differently and that this incident went on far too long. Every issue will be addressed to prevent a reoccurrence.’

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  • MekongDelta69

    Two very good friends of mine were COs at Rikers after getting back to the world when their respective tours were up. Sometimes, just for goofs, we’d go ‘visit’ and every Christmas, we’d go see the show put on by the ‘residents.’

    Oh, I’m sorry. I digress. Back to the story at hand.

    I. Don’t. Care.

  • Puggg

    Guards at New York City’s Rikers Island Prison have been criticised for standing back and not breaking up the wild fight as people got injured.

    A few guards versus 50 rival gang black inmates? The guards would only get seriously hurt or killed. And I’m not just saying that out of professional solidarity. I’m saying it as also a measure of common sense. You might ask about the protective gear. But if you try to intervene against two warring gangs of black people, 50 between them, they might gang up on you. 50 versus three or four guards, the guards will lose if the 50 are hyped up enough and raging enough, and in a riot situation, they are.

    Staffing at the correction facility has been cut by 20 per cent over the last decade and there were not enough officers to step in and break up the fight, according to a guards’ spokesman.

    Even if the number of guards was 20% higher, they still probably would have stood down. Again as they should have.

    Norman Seabrook, president of the guards’ union

    A jail guard named Norm. Why does that sound so familiar.

    ‘So it clearly shows that there is not enough staff in the department and the management in the department has not trained correction officers properly in how to deal with these types of situations.’

    Standing down IS the proper training in this situation. You don’t want to give guards deadly weapons or certain non deadly weapons that the inmates could gang up on you and steal and use against you.

    The news service said two gangs were involved in the fighting: members of the Trinitarians, a Dominican gang, and their rival Crips.

    That’s the problem, not necessarily the number of guards, but the Africanness of the inmates.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Liberals are whining that the guards did nothing.

      Had the guards suppressed the riot there would be ACLU and NAACP lawsuits against “C.O. brutality”.

      • Puggg

        A politically impossible city like New York? Yeah, you gotta figure that. And I’m sure my brothers and sisters in “arms,” so to speak, did the same.

  • Oil Can Harry

    Blacks have only recently learned how to make grilled-cheese sandwiches since the recipe was published online.

    • Evette Coutier

      Blacks invented the grilled cheese sandwich a thousand years before whites, and the evil white invaders stole the technology and destroyed the knowledge leaving Africa in the dark for centuries to come. Damn whites.

      • Whitetrashgang

        Also blacks invented eating ants with a stick till apes stold it from them and wouldn’t give the idea back, forcing blacks to make jenkem which they wouldn’t share with anyone

      • Erasmus

        Nothing like a grilled cheese sandwich after a hard afternoon of flying around the pyramids.

      • They built the moon out of leftover stone from the pyramids, so thousands of years later, they’re still tired and hungry.

  • [Guest]

    Just imagine what would happen if chitterlings and grape drink were on the menu!

    • me

      Maximus chimpoutus!

  • IstvanIN

    They should put collars on inmates that work like invisible fence dog collars. Hit a remote and ZAP.

    • Evette Coutier

      That’s a good idea if they use 24 volt batteries.

    • Gadgets like that are made and used for criminal defendants who get out of line in courtrooms. These are shock-belts, rather than shock-collars, and the electric shocks are delivered right across the kidneys. It puts them down right away when the remote is triggered.

      • IstvanIN

        Cool, all violent criminals should be encased in one.

  • cancerous bananna

    Guards are sore they don’t get paid so they let it go on.. hardly racial.. more of a spectator sport.. bet they had laid odds on a certain group to substitute the pay dispute…
    Better to watch than to get involved.

  • Spartacus

    “Guards at New York City’s Rikers Island Prison have been criticised for
    standing back and not breaking up the wild fight as people got injured.”


    That’s the spirit !

    • AutomaticSlim

      Don’t cheer too much.
      Most of the guards there are Blacks and PRs/Dominicans.
      They’re just lazy, that’s all.
      And if a White guy goes to Rikers…may heaven help you…the guards sure won’t.

      • Puggg

        It’s a safe bet that the black and Caribbean guards are loosely if not a little stronger associated with some gang. That kind of thing happens in St. Louis sometimes in the black jails, either “surprise” jail breaks set up by a guard or guards who were of the same gang, or staged fight clubs that are rings between inmates and guards of the same gang, to beat up members of rival gangs.

  • exlib93

    I wish they would kill each other.

  • NeanderthalDNA

    We should seriously consider something akin to John Carpenter’s “Escape from New York” scenario. Not such a bad idea…

    Oh, video was of NYC weather…

  • dd121

    There are youtube videos all the time of groids who go berserk at McDonalds when something goes wrong with their order. Perfectly normal for them.

    • ncpride

      Or riots break out when Popeyes runs out of fried chicken from their special low deals. No, I’m not kidding.

      • IstvanIN

        “How am I suppose ta feed my keeds?” says the mammie.

    • exlib93

      I witnessed a darkie throw a tantrum in McDonalds after being told the McRib was discontinued. I’m serious.

  • One really entertaining aspect to this is that when my cellmate and I wanted to toast grilled cheese sandwiches, we just checked out the electric iron from the CO’s office. Who needs a hot plate?

    • IstvanIN

      That is the scientist in you, rather like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island. Blacks aren’t that smart.

      • Good point. Anyone dumb enough to get new criminal charges – while already locked up – over grilled cheese sandwiches certainly isn’t bright enough to come up with a substitute for a hot plate. Oh, wait a minute: as you said, these were blacks in this article. Nevermind.

  • Greg Thomas

    “Guards at New York City’s Rikers Island Prison have been criticised for standing back and not breaking up the wild fight as people got injured.”
    They did society a favor by not intervening. Let the diversity animals kill each other.

  • negrolocaust

    lokk at the one white guy in the tank top! he must be the master of all these blacks.

  • At which event is the larger fight going to break out:

    1) Grilled cheese sammich contest
    2) Best Koo-Aid contest.
    3) Race for the last piece of KFC

    • The answer is:

      4) A buy one get one free at the watermelon stand.

    • To paraphrase MekongDelta69, “Who cares?”

    • me

      Oooh, you forgot the food stamp day at Social Services, Section 8 sign-ups, and Obamaphone giveaways…

  • BlarneyMiller

    “men from rival gangs charged around hurling chairs and using mop sticks and even knives to strike each other”

    I’m surprised that they didn’t use ask handles.

  • IKantunderstand


  • Our Russian friends could put the homies and vatos to work mining gold near where the Kolyma River empties into the sea.

  • Juan Outtamany

    Let ’em riot.

  • Stentorian_Commentator

    The Trinitarians are just another Dominican gang? Shucks, I was hoping for some kind of interesting religious sect.

    • Allan477

      Here in Chicago there used to be a Polish gang known as “The Bishops”.

  • skara_brae

    The prospect of returning to Rikers Island is the reason Sid Vicious spiked himself out of this life. No way was he going back. I can understand why.

    • Maybe he should have gone off the heroin instead. Riker’s is actually a jail and not a real prison: inmates are there pre-trial who can’t afford bail, or serving sentences of one year or less.

      • MBlanc46

        Sounds like Cook County Jail to me. I know County Jail is a place I never want to find myself in. The film bears out the comparison.

        • A well-run jail still sucks, but is tolerable. You get used to it after the first six months. I fought my federal case out from behind bars for 17 months. I read a lot of books, played a lot of cards, dominoes and “Risk”, did a lot of crossword puzzles and crypto-quotes, talked with lots of people, and helped some guys out with their GED studies.

          The only down-side is that I still dream every night I’m locked up again, and nobody will tell me why.

          • MBlanc46

            I have a sibling incarcerated in a Michigan prison whom I visit a couple of times a year. Just visiting is enough to make it very clear that I never want to be incarcerated.

          • I hope you write to him a lot. Letters matter in the Happy Fun Place. I wasn’t in an insane asylum, but I was released to a 3000 mile wide, open-air loony bin.

            I’m glad you visit him. Staying connected to my mother and sister, and lots of old college friends helped me enormously. It probably kept me alive. I got one or two letters a week from somebody, and I sent my old ISP provider a letter to post from my old account to an old undergrad message board. My headline was:


            That’s when the books started being mailed to me. Everyone from my undergrad days thought my writing from prison was hilarious. Writing was – and still is – my release. I may never be able to put into words how much I love my mother, my wife and my daughter, but the books sent by my old college friends, as well as people I didn’t know – saved my sanity. I feel a poem is in order.

            I’ll try some other time when the sun is up and I’m gardening with Sayaka and Ariadne. Santa Cruz reminds me of rain, which we don’t get much here. The poem will have to include the rain and greenery, the unlovely beaches, the wonderful used bookstores, friendship and my relief at returning home to Colorado.

          • MBlanc46

            We visit only a couple of times a year because of the distance. Both my wife and I know that we don’t write often enough. We do talk on the telephone several times a month, and, just recently, e-mail has become available, although it’s not as instantaneous as it is with people outside.

          • Of course email would have to be screened for content by prison staff. I wish we’d had that! My mother visited me once a week in Denver, and during 19 months at Ft. Worth, she visited me once. I actually suggested she not bother; I’d gone out to California for college at 18, and Australia at 31, so being away didn’t bother me. I think it was more for her; she sure was happy when I was released.

            I joked so much about being locked up that people thought I was nuts. In some respects, it was a good time for me. I bought a lined notebook from the commissary – a high school composition book, and wrote down things to do, tools to buy, books to read and so-on. I met a lot of guys who’d been jacked worse than I was, and I stopped feeling sorry for myself. When I was feeling a bit down, I told jokes, and when I could get the guys laughing, I felt better. I had my probation officer and head-shrinker in tears when I had a psych test and was asked whether I had ever tried to cast a spell. My reply was that I had tried clicking my heels together and saying “There’s no place like home”, but it didn’t work because I was wearing the wrong shoes.

            I’ve been home just over ten years, and I still use that notebook as a checklist.

            One of my friends from inside went back – “reenlisted”. He was amazing at planning out small business startups; I figured he’d get a government small business loan and just do one of them. He gets out in 2036, at age 72, and there’s no parole in the feds. Since he lost out on a writ of certatorious last year, he’s going to have to do his whole bit. It’s a terribly sad thing when someone that smart decides to become a career criminal. I write to him, and he loves my letters. He’s actually fairly close – in Florence, CO, but since I’m not a family member, I can’t visit him.

            I mailed a regular newsletter to my friends in Texas after I was off paper, “The Journal of American Crackpottery”. It got passed around the unit, and brightened things up a bit.

            I’m sorry about your brother or sister, but according to Robert Heinlein, what a caterpillar thinks is the end of the world is really just the beginning of a butterfly.

          • MBlanc46

            I presume that federal prison is in many ways safer that the state institutions. I trust that they don’t let the inmates run the asylum in the federal system as they seem do so often in the states. The disproportion of blacks makes it seem even more off-putting. Maybe I’m over-stating things based on media portrayals, but the general impression that one gets is that there’s just about as much criminality going on inside prisons as there is outside.

          • The food is pretty good in the feds, except for what they call “coffee”.

            One of my inside jobs was as a lookout for a tattoo artist. I would read a book outside our dorm room all the time. If I put my book down, work would stop. If I turned my empty coffee cup upside-down, the CO was coming.

            I was paid in postage stamps; I didn’t want any tattoos.

            One of the guys got lightning bolts tatted on the sides of his penis. That must have hurt.

          • MBlanc46

            The entire tattoo culture baffles me. Especially tattoos on women. It’s merely a generational thing, I suppose, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s another sign of the end of civilization.

  • Jenkem Huffington

    A friend of mine did some time in prison and always recounts the day a CO got between a big buck and his fried chicken (the wog went full-on silverback and hospitalized the guard). God help you if you make a groid late for chow on chicken night!

  • MBlanc46

    Very interesting. I pretty sure that all your proposals will be DOA even though your basic framework is rational. You don’t really address the racial aspect to crime, and I would suggest that that is the key to making the problem manageable (it will never be solved).

  • Trayvon Martin appears to have missed that as well, as he was calling a Peruvian “cracker” and trying to dash his brains out on the concrete.

  • Three years was more than enough for me, and I did my real sentence at a rather nice low-security place; I wasn’t camp-eligible.

    I wish to dear God I’d been home on house arrest. I’ve always had plenty of books, except when my ex-father decided to punish me by taking them away, and I built a PC when I couldn’t afford one, out of junk the neighbors threw away. I still read a lot, and still have major trust issues. The first year I was home, I got the mail at night, just so nobody would have to see me.

    Where I was, at Ft. Worth, almost everyone was pretty well-behaved. One of the COs was moonbat crazy, and liked to close the yard in secret, without telling anyone over the PA system. I remember as clear as day, three of us smoking just outside the door to our unit when he noticed us. September 2002. Nobody had said the yard was shut. Heck; the door was open. He charged us at a dead run, and I’ve seen a look of insane hate and fury on a white man’s face only once since then. It is breathtaking! We were almost sucked into that doorway and up two flights of stairs; we “skedaddled”; that CO was just plain nuts. He finally got so sick of us just trying to get through our time peacefully that he transferred to a federal max – somewhere in Kentucky, I think.

    Maybe somebody hurt someone in that CO’s family, but I sure didn’t do it. My ex-father is so full of cancer even his tumors have suspicious growths; my hatred dies with him.

    Some of the COs were great guys. Mr. Buchberger ran the kitchen where I worked for seven months: 04:00 to noon. Yes, he had a blue uniform, while mine was khaki, but he was the sort of fellow who would make a good boss for someone like me. He let me off to the unit for a nap, because I thought of starting the water filling in the hot line tanks before the morning stand-up count. This way, the work got done a bit faster.

    My last conversation with him was when I was doing a nice, easy compound job, and Mr. Buchberger noticed me. He smiled and said, “Hi, Scott, how are things going?”

    “I get out in two weeks.”

    “You’re not going to f*** up are you?”

    “No; I couldn’t put my mother through this again.”

    I wish him well. He was certainly a decent boss. While the COs and bosses who were decent, responsible, GOOD men stand out in my mind: Buchberger, Parkinson, Sweet, those we grew to fear and loathe are names I can’t remember. Rothman was my last boss at Ft. Worth, and I think he was torn between hatred and pity for us inmates. I thought he was sometimes OK, but he made me a little nervous.

    • baldowl

      I worked in a kitchen, too, at the end of my sabbatical. The CO’s in charge LOVED me, because I am possessed of a strong work ethic and pride in my work which applies to any work assigned to me, even washing dishes in a state prison. At the end of my last shift, one CO (I haven’t bothered to remember any of their names) vocally lamented my imminent release and then, realizing his faux pas, apologized and told me he’d enjoyed working with me.

  • I still have nightmares in which I am back, and nobody will tell me why.

  • ThomasER916

    Willing to kill over a grilled cheese sandwich?

    Sounds like a black tale indeed!