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Rikers detainee dies in first DOC death of 2022

A detainee on Rikers Island died on Sunday, the first death of a person in city custody this year, officials said.

Tarz Youngblood, 38, was found unresponsive in his cell at the George R. Vierno Center on Rikers Island, according to a statement released by the Department of Correction.

He received CPR and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly before noon, officials said. The cause of death remains under investigation.

Youngblood, who was arrested on a stalking charge last May, had been incarcerated on Rikers Island since September 5th, records show.

“We will work aggressively to determine the circumstances surrounding Mr. Youngblood’s death,” Correction Commissioner Louis Molina said in a statement. “My deepest sympathy goes out to his loved ones.”

Sixteen people died while in city custody last year, the highest number since 2013. As hundreds of correction officers refused to show up to work, conditions on Rikers Island descended into violence, with rates of self-harm skyrocketing and authorities warning about an inability to carry out basic jail operations.

Advocates and attorneys for the incarcerated say that conditions have remained dire on Rikers Island and accuse the city of failing to follow court orders to improve medical care in the system.

Inquiries to an attorney for Youngblood were not returned.

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