The Department of Justice has revealed that two New York City Correction Officers have pleaded guilty in a federal court in Brooklyn to accepting bribes from inmates in exchange for sneaking in “contraband” like cell phones and narcotics into the prison where they worked.
Krystle Burrell (Lawrence, NY) and Katrina Patterson (Jamaica, NY), both NYC Department of Corrections employees, confessed to taking a total of $44,000 from inmates at Rikers Island.
On Tuesday, September 20th, Burrell said she took almost $10,000, and on Tuesday, August 16th, Katrina Patterson said she took more than $34,000 in bribes.
The DOJ said it had documents and evidence to support how Patterson, 31, actually worked on behalf of Michael Ross to get stuff into the Robert N. Davoren Center in the prison.
According to those sources, Ross arranged everything with Patterson and funneled the bribes to her in exchange for drugs and cell phones, which were later found in his cell.
The two were also texting each other about the arrangements for the delivery, including one text that said he was getting “4 black joints in 1 paper,” and Patterson replying, “it better be wrapped so many times I don’t want to smell it.”
Ross, a Blood street gang member, was already serving time. He has pleaded guilty to a bribery offense and is awaiting his new sentencing.
In another part of the prison, Burrell, 35, was doing the same thing for Terrae Hinds in the Anna M. Kross Center on Rikers Island. For $9,780, Burrell smuggled at least two unauthorized cell phones and some drugs.
Hinds is waiting to be charged.
HSI New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Patel said. “These officers were tempted by greed to betray their duty.”
“By taking bribes to smuggle prohibited contraband to incarcerated known gang members, they violated the oath they swore and became criminals themselves. HSI is committed to making our communities safer by disrupting gang activity wherever it occurs, whether on the streets or in prisons,” Patel added.
United States Attorney Breon Peace said, “The defendants threw in their lot with Bloods gang members and betrayed their sworn duty to maintain the safety of incarcerated individuals and other correction officers at Rikers Island by smuggling cell phones and drugs into the jail.”
“This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to rooting out corruption at Rikers Island,” Peace added.
DOI Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber said, “These two Correction Officers took bribes in return for smuggling contraband to inmates, crimes that risked the safety and security of the jails and willfully circumvented Correction Department regulations.”
“These violations of their duty carry serious consequences, including termination from their City employment. DOI and our law enforcement partners will continue to target contraband smuggling and other misconduct that destabilizes the City’s jail,” she concluded.
Others, who have vowed to protect and serve, said this casts a bad look on their profession.
“When correction officers betray their oath to serve and protect, the public is put at risk and the entire law enforcement community is tarnished,” NYPD Commissioner Sewell remarked. “We have zero tolerance for such misconduct. With today’s guilty plea, Ms. Burrell joins Ms. Patterson in publicly acknowledging that their actions were immoral, unethical, and without integrity – diametrically opposed to the core requirements of our profession. I commend all of our partners for their dedication to uncovering and eradicating corruption in all of its forms.”
Burrell now faces up to 10 years in prison. Patterson may get up to 5 years behind bars.