As the inner workings of criminal justice system continue to unravel, a correctional officer from Rikers Island has resigned after what appeared to be an intimate moment with an inmate.
New York’s Pix11 reports Capt. Shantay Dash resigned from her position of nearly ten years for “personal reasons” on Monday (March 13)—the same day a video was released of her kissing an inmate. The moment was caught on a contraband cell phone that was hidden in the cell. From their perspective, the video shows the inmate talking to Dash casually when she reaches into the greet him. She later screams “What the heck?” after the kiss.
Just months prior, Dash was arraigned on felony charges of promoting contraband and official misconduct after she was caught smuggling in a tattoo gun for another inmate, Robin Hamilton. “The case that is before you now presents an appallingly flagrant violation of public trust,” said Assistant District Attorney Aaron Ginandes to The New York Post earlier this month. Hamilton was attempting to cover a tattoo that linked her to a 2013 robbery. Officers noticed the depressing attempt when Hamilton arrived at the District Attorney’s office to get the tattoo photographed.
The January incident left Hamilton guilty of several robberies and a 51 years-to-life sentence. Dash was placed on modified duty for her role in the crime and ordered to stay away from inmates at the Westchester prison.
The Department of Corrections released a statement after the video surfaced stating they have zero tolerance for employees who abuse their power. “That vast majority of Department of Correction staff perform their duties with the highest level of integrity, and Commissioner Ponte has zero tolerance for those who don’t.
It may not be clear if this was an inmate-officer relationship, but for retired corrections officer Robin Kay Miller, friendships with the inmates are almost normal. “Inmates are con artists,” she told ABC News last year. “They know how to play the game and they know how to manipulate.” Miller penned the book Inside the Dark Underbelly of Rikers Island in 2015 to share her experience working as an officer on Rikers. “They look for the weak. They look for insecurity,” she said of male inmates’ behavior towards female officers. “They look if they’re beautiful, body parts, the unintelligent, the not so bright, and then they look for the hustler, hustler females, and then they look for the promiscuous females.”
Dash hasn’t commented her resignation, and it is unknown if she will be charged for the incident.