Embattled Riker’s Chief of Investigations Quits

NEW YORK (AP) -

The head of internal investigations at the embattled Rikers Island jail complex resigned Friday amid intense scrutiny over civil rights violations and inmate deaths.

Deputy Commissioner Florence Finkle’s departure came weeks after federal investigators released a blistering report that criticized the jail system for poor accountability, a “deep-seated culture of violence” and “excessive and inappropriate” solitary confinement.

Finkle, 52, joined the Department of Correction as the deputy commissioner for integrity and policy in 2010 after stints as a city prosecutor and as the first assistant state attorney general in charge of the Medicaid fraud unit.

The federal report, the result of a 2 ½-year Department of Justice investigation into violence at three Rikers Island juvenile jails, said correction officers routinely violated constitutional rights and subjected teenagers to “rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force.”

Those facilities have been the subject of reports of the failure of officers to follow safeguards to prevent suicides and the deaths of mentally ill inmates. One inmate died in a 101-degree cell.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called Rikers “a place where brute force is the first impulse rather than the last resort; where verbal insults are repaid with physical injuries; where beatings are routine while accountability is rare; and where a culture of violence endures even while a code of silence prevails.”