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Despite Paralysis Of Inmate James Carlton, Ned McCormick Rehired, Promoted As Questions Remain

According to the most recent report from Martin, the current state of affairs inside the facilities run by the DOC remain rife with violence and excessive force.

On May 11, 2023, James Carlton, who was incarcerated at the Vernon C. Bain Center jail, was allegedly paralyzed as a result of injuries he received from a botched attempt to detain him. One of the people allegedly responsible for the facility that employed the unit that paralyzed him, Ned McCormick, received a promotion and raise upon his recent return to the New York State Department of Corrections. 

According to The City, part of the reason Carlton ended up paralyzed is that he suffers from spinal stenosis, a condition which makes it much more likely for him to receive a serious spinal injury. The officers who attempted to detain James, however, were unaware of his medical history because Louis Molina, the Department of Corrections Commissioner, allegedly withheld that information. 

Molina was the subject of an investigation by Monitor Steve Martin, who was critical of Molina’s determination that there was no wrongdoing committed by the officers who tackled James while his arms and feet were already shackled. According to Martin’s report, he disagrees with Molina’s characterization of Carlton as an unruly offender. “Given even these initial findings and disciplinary actions by the Department, it is unclear how the commissioner could reportedly adamantly deny wrongdoing in this case or how the department could claim that the force was necessary and therefore assert that there was no inappropriate conduct.”

Martin’s report also criticized the supervision at the facility in general, citing another incident where an incarcerated individual jumped to his death while one correctional officer played dominoes in a cell with three offenders. “The other officer was seated at a table with three individuals in custody playing dominoes. While building rapport in this way is laudable, there is at least a question about whether there was, in fact, adequate overall supervision on the unit.”

According to the most recent report from Martin, the current state of affairs inside the facilities run by the DOC remains rife with violence and excessive force.

“The jails remain dangerous and unsafe, characterized by a pervasive, imminent risk of harm to both people in custody and staff. This risk of harm is caused by pervasive dysfunction in the jails’ management resulting from polycentric and interdependent issues including, but not limited to, a broad failure to utilize sound correctional security practices for even the most basic tasks, limited staff supervision, and poor-quality guidance, and a persistent failure to identify misconduct and to apply appropriate accountability.”

Martin’s report continued, “These failures perpetuate a toxic culture and a system in which none of the component parts work well or together. As a result, violence and a persistent pattern and practice of the use of unnecessary and excessive force remain evident in the system.”

Despite these questions and criticisms, McCormick was given a promotion upon his return to the DOC on June 20, after he had initially resigned in October 2023, a few months after the incident involving Carlton. According to a top jail official, who spoke to The City on condition of anonymity out of a fear of retribution, McCormick’s return was “very disheartening to the people working here.”

As McCormick is set to profit and prosper despite the paralysis of Carlton, Carlton lies in a hospital bed, consumed with pain, suffering, and in fear of the officers of the DOC. In July 2023, James told The City from his hospital bed at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in Manhattan. “Everything hurts,” Carlton said. “I can’t sleep. It’s all nightmares. I can’t do anything anymore. Look at me. I can’t move. I’ll never get out of this bed.”