A 25-year-old inmate at Rikers Island died on Saturday, marking the fourth death at the New York City jail complex this year as officials face growing calls for the site to be shut down over reports of poor conditions.
Dashawn Carter was taken into the custody of the New York City Department of Correction on Thursday, just two days before his death, the department said in a news release. He was facing charges of third-degree burglary and first-degree robbery.
Carter was being held at the Anna M. Kross Center, where he was pronounced dead about 5:08 p.m., department said. The cause of death is still under investigation, with confirmation pending from the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, it said.
Carter's death comes as NYC DOC Commissioner Louis Molina faces a looming deadline to address concerns over conditions within the city’s jail system — or face a federal takeover.
Among the four deaths this year were two within two days of each other in March.
At least 16 inmates died in the custody of New York's jail system last year, with most awaiting trial and dying on Rikers Island, according to a New York Times report published earlier this year. All but one of those who died were Black or Hispanic, the newspaper reported. At least six died by suicide and three others by overdose, it said.
In a statement on Saturday, Molina said there would be an "immediate and full investigation" into Carter's death.
“Any death in custody is a tragic event and an impactful loss," Molina said. "We are truly heartbroken for this person’s family and loved ones and we wish to express our deepest condolences."