64-year-old man dies shortly after judge granted emergency release
NEW YORK (AP) – A man detained on Rikers Island died shortly after a judge granted him emergency release, the man’s lawyer said.
The New York Post reported that Victor Mercado, 64, was the 13th person to die in the city’s prison system in 2021. Mercado had been held on Rikers Island since July, following his arrest for firearms.
Attorney James A. Kilduff and a spokesperson for the Corrections Department said Mercado, of the Bronx, died in Elmhurt Hospital at 12:39 p.m. Friday.
The corrections spokesperson said Mercado’s death appeared to be “of a medical nature.” The medical examiner’s office said on Saturday it was determining the cause of his death.
Kilduff said Mercado – who had underlying health issues and used a wheelchair in recent weeks – spent most of his time with Rikers in the infirmary. The lawyer said he spoke with Mercado’s family on Wednesday evening and learned that Mercado had contracted COVID-19.
Kilduff spoke to Mercado by phone on Thursday after he was transferred to Elmhurst hospital. Kilduff said Mercado looked “scared” and asked him to help him “get me out of here”.
On Friday morning, the lawyer contacted the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, which agreed to ask the court for emergency humanitarian release.
A judge allowed the request following a video appearance at noon.
But Mercado’s brother told Kilduff soon after that it was too late.
Kilduff said Mercado appeared in court on September 27 in a wheelchair to unsuccessfully request that his $ 100,000 bond be reduced.