Rikers inmate hurls ‘liquid substance’ at councilman

A Rikers Island inmate hurled an “unknown liquid substance” at a Brooklyn city councilman who visited the troubled lockup Wednesday, The Post has learned.

The unidentified detainee — who was behind Plexiglas in a solitary confinement cell — hit Councilman Stephen Levin in the hair with the mystery fluid, which also struck one of the five correction officers who accompanied him during his tour, according to the lawmaker and an incident report, filed at 1:13 p.m. Wednesday.

Levin, a Democrat representing parts of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights and downtown Brooklyn, was not injured by the clear liquid, according to the councilman and the report obtained by The Post.

“One of the detainees splashed a small bucket, or something like that, as I was walking past [him],” Levin, who last visited the lockup in 2019, told The Post on Thursday. “It splashed mostly against the Plexiglas, but he kind of got it over the Plexiglas too, and a few drops got on my head.”

Levin was quickly ushered out of the facility by correction staff after the encounter, he said.

“The correction staff takes that very seriously, because you don’t know what it is. It could be feces or urine,” said the councilman. “If it was dirty toilet water — and it didn’t just get on my hair, it got on my face — that’s very serious. But it could have just been water, for all I know.”

“I didn’t feel at risk, but it could have been something more serious, and that’s something that correction officers deal with on a daily basis,” he explained. “It’s an aspect of the job that demonstrates the difficulties of the job.”

Lawmakers, activists and correction unions have called for officials to enact measures aimed at improving the dangerous and squalid conditions at Rikers and throughout the city jail system.
J.C. Rice

Despite having a substance splashed on him by a detainee, Levin told The Post he plans to visit Rikers Island again “in a couple weeks.”

A correction source said the incident reflects everyday realities guards face that cause severe “mental trauma.”

“Over a hundred correction officers and captains are splashed by inmates with blood, urine and feces every year and the physical and mental trauma that causes is unspeakable,” said the source. “Now that Council Member Levin has experienced this horrific assault, will he call on the inmates who did this to face any consequences or will he look the other way?”

The incident came shortly after an inmate was pronounced dead Wednesday morning at a Bronx city jail, the 12th fatality in a Big Apple lockup, 11 of them occurring at the beleaguered Rikers Island.

In recent weeks, lawmakers, activists and correction unions have all called for officials to enact measures aimed at improving the dangerous and squalid conditions in the city jail system — and for the mayor to visit the out-of-control lockup. The head of the city’s jails earlier this month acknowledged “serious problems” at Rikers Island.

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a five-point plan to address the dire circumstances, including using NYPD officers in courts and hiring private contractors as jail guards.