By Sasha Gonzales
A man awaiting trial in a double murder was sentenced in Bronx Supreme Court Thursday to 3 1/2 years in prison for breaking the jaw of a correction officer on Rikers Island.
Tariq Hargrove, 22, pleaded guilty Jan. 30 to assaulting Correction Officer Richy Herrera Castillo, leaving him with facial injuries so serious he needed a metal plate permanently implanted in his jaw.
Prosecutors said Hargrove was talking on a phone for inmates in the George Mochan Detention Center – a notoriously violent facility at Rikers where inmates are no longer housed – before the attack. Once Hargrove hung up, he allegedly punched Castillo in the face for no reason. Castillo stumbled backwards from the blow while Hargrove yelled at him, authorities said.
The punch, which was captured on video, knocked loose one of Castillo’s molars, which had to be removed. He needed emergency jaw surgery, had difficulty speaking due to his injuries, and underwent physical therapy as a result, authorities said.
The April 2017 attack happened while Hargrove was being held on murder and weapons charges for allegedly killing Perry Chance, 40, and Jeffrey James, 37, in Brooklyn in 2016. His is due back in court in that case April 16.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said Hargrove will serve his prison time for the Rikers assault consecutively with any time he might receive for the alleged homicide and weapon charge.
“Inmates must know they will be held accountable for vicious, senseless attacks on staff,” Clark said.
Hargrove also received five years post-release supervision as part of his sentence.
The case was prosecuted by Bronx Assistant District Attorney Sarah Clements of the Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau, which investigates crimes committed by inmates at the sprawling jail facility.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he plans to close Rikers by 2027 and replace it with borough based jails.