Rikers Driver Slowdown Made Inmates Miss Chemotherapy, Suit Claims

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A view of buildings at the Rikers Island penitentiary complex where IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being held in New York on May 17, 2011. The grand jury deciding whether or not to send IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn to trial has until May 20th to decide. In the meantime, Strauss-Kahn, accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid, remains incarcerated without bail because a judge deemed him liable to attempt escape to France, which does not extradite citizens to the United States.  AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND/2011 AFP

The Rikers Island bus drivers who refused to transport inmates last week ostensibly did so out of concerns over the road-worthiness of their vehicles. But in a lawsuit filed Monday against the correction officers' union, the city alleged what the New York Times reported: that the drivers staged the slowdown to prevent one inmate in particular from testifying against two guards accused of beating him. According to the suit, that slowdown may have had some dire consequences, as 49 prisoners missed medical appointments, several for chemotherapy, which "may lead to serious morbidity for some of these prisoners." But if the goal of the slowdown really was to prevent the inmate to testify, then it worked. He missed his court date, the Times reports. Of course, that can be rescheduled without the same kind of complications a missed chemo appointment carries.