Man Jailed For Five Months At Rikers Island Was Unaware His Bail Was Only $2

In November 2014, Aitabdel Salem was jailed and sent to Rikers Island after police claimed the 42-year-old attacked officers as he attempted to steal a coat from a Zara clothing store. Originally, Salem’s bail was set at $25,000 for this case and another one.

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On Nov. 26, his return court date, Selam was a no-show in court and the judge reduced the bail to just a dollar. On Nov. 28, Selam didn’t appear in court for a second time. The judge ruled the Queens man be released from prison on his own recognizance because prosecutors failed to convince a jury within in the mandated 144 hours to hand down an indictment.

Salem unfortunately wasn’t given this information and remained in prison, so now he’s suing. According to The New York Daily News he’s filed a lawsuit against the city and his legal counsel.

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“Mr. Salem implored corrections officers within [Rikers Island] to tell him what happened on his respective court dates,” the lawsuit states. “None of the corrections officers told him that he was ordered to be free on Nov. 28, 2014, because his bail had been reduced [to] $1.” The lawsuit also stated that Salem’s “unrelenting pleas” went ignored.

Selam is however serving a four to five year sentence in state prison for felony assault and criminal tampering charges.