Lawyers Allege ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ at Brooklyn Jail That Lacked Power, Heat

New York defense lawyers filed a lawsuit Monday against a Brooklyn jail where more than 1,000 inmates allegedly went without heat and power in recent days, claiming that the jail is violating the inmates’ Sixth Amendment rights by denying them access to counsel. The lawyers claim in the suit that since Jan. 27, there’s been a “near-total cancellation of legal and family visiting” for male inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center, The New York Times reports. The lawsuit specifically targets warden Herman Quay, claiming that he “consistently dissembled and downplayed the seriousness of the issues at stake.” It further alleges that the power failure created a “humanitarian crisis” by trapping inmates in pitch-black, freezing cells. A spokesperson for the jail claimed that heat and power had been restored Sunday night. The suit seeks to renew access to counsel, and asks the court to hire an independent investigator to review the jail’s conditions.